How do some client organisations manage to draw fabulously innovative and high-performing work out of their creative teams? Meanwhile others achieve workmanlike, lacklustre results. Or worse, work that has a negative impact on business.
We could look to the relationship between client and the creatives. More specifically, let’s take a look at the briefing process. It is, after all, where ownership of the task at hand passes from one to the other. The quality of that handover has a massive impact on the ensuing work.
As a fledgling creative in the early 1980s I spent several years art directing for a seriously earnest business-to-business direct response ad agency.
Like many agencies then and now, we worked to a formula for processing a client brief. It was even built around a seven-letter acronym* that one could reel off in presentations with a degree of élan.
It worked very well but, like many formulaic things, it didn’t work excellently. You managed to turn out a stream of really good work – some even grabbing the odd industry gong – but it was rare for us to generate work that glowed with brilliance.
I think we (I) became too comfortable with the formula.
And if you are used to it, it’s easy to slip into autopilot mode and make assumptions about the creative team’s grasp of your problem.
The creative brief has to allow for a good deal of flexibility and interrogation from both client and creative sides of the process.
It might seem a bit thin, looking back, though its great virtue was its simplicity; you always had the option to flesh it out as much as you needed.