Whenever I do an Idea Generation workshop I try to do this exercise. I ask the Creatives to let me know, as a percentage, how often they feel excited and inspired by a brief.

After an uncomfortable silence, the answer is usually around 10% .  One in ten briefs inspires.

I then ask Account Management people a different variation of the question. How often do you get great work, the first time around, after Briefing the Creative Department?

After another uncomfortable silence, the answer is around 20%.  Two in ten briefs returns great work

I then probe a little deeper and ask them to be honest. Is the work great or is it just “presentable”?  Many people will then admit that the truth is closer to 10%.

So, only one in ten briefs returns great work.

These percentages have held steady across over 60 workshops in 12 countries and the conclusion is inescapable.

Ninety percent of all the briefs that are written are not doing what they are designed to do.

Nine out of every ten briefs leads to re-work, time wasting, money wasting, internal frustration, and Client frustration.

There must be ways to “Better, Faster & Cheaper” (BFC) your briefs.

Here is one tip-

“BFC” your Creative Brief by getting rid of the Marketing Jargon

“We need to aggressively leverage our Brand’s proven performance superiority in Tier 1 detergents and convince our modern, active, Mom target that BC22 is the leading eco safe, non enzyme, phosphate free technology in the marketplace”


Just reading this sentence is hard. Understanding it requires a lot of work. Trying to identify the key thought is a nightmare. And bringing this to life in a simple and persuasive way is near impossible.

This is often what Creatives have to deal with. In an effort to make the Creative Brief sound intelligent and well thought through, we use big words and say absolutely nothing.

This is not helpful. Simple is always better.

To avoid falling in the Marketing Jargon trap try this.

When you finish writing the brief ask yourself these three questions.

  1. Can a person who knows nothing about Marketing or Advertising understand it?
  1. Can that person tell you what needs to be said about your Brand?
  1. Can that same person describe and recognize who the Brand is targeting?

If the answer to these three questions is yes, you are in good shape.

If not, strip away more of the Marketing Jargon and let the real meaning come through.

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