The Creative Brief: a.k.a. the Who? What? What? Why? questions
Essentially, all successful branding depends on creatively appealing to the target audience/s’ hardwired need for personal identities. The unconscious choices we all make from a range of branded products and services constitutes the core of our lives as consumers in market economies—these brands forms part of what motivates the actions we take. The creative brief is an industry best practice tool, a methodology that aims to cast light on the intellectual and emotional core of the target market, succinctly framed with the four questions addressing the client and guiding the designer’s research; Who? What? What? Why?
- Who is your audience/market(s)?
- What do they know about your product/service now?
- What do you want them to know about your product/service after they have read/seen your communication?
- Why will they believe you?
The answers to these questions inform the crafting of the design and marketing communications “problem statement” that must be agreed upon by client and designer in order for the creative direction to be accurate at the outset of the design process. Addressing of the “problem” statement informs the writing of the Creative Brief. This in turn guides the creative designer to provide the optimal design “answer” to the client’s marketing communications problem or needs.
This classic approach is highly adaptive, it takes some research, planning and humility on the part of the designer but following industry best practice sets the stage for doing your best work for your client. By humility here I mean it is not good enough to “phone in” creative work, to presume or pretend I am so smart that off the top of my head I know enough about, or that I am able to properly understand the client‘s business or their market/s without undertaking thorough research, without enquiring to gain the client’s insights into their business and market/s acquired over many years. To design and build a great global brand, to create a lasting identity that truly sells must begin on solid ground with the creative brief agreed upon by all of the client-side stakeholders* whose opinions will weigh in to the review and feedback process. The creative brief must be as concise as possible with clearly defined goals set. With the design problem and the creative brief agreed upon by the client stakeholders and the designer the project to solve the visual design problem starts out heading in the right direction.
Engaging the principles of successful branding
Successful brands have to address the target audience’s needs. The best brands provide visual triggers to connect with consumers’ subconscious desires. Before beginning to develop a proprietary visual language for a client’s product or service it is first necessary to identify how best to connect with them. This process begins with the effort to understand through discipline and compel through imagination. Disciplining creativity begins with a visual review of fitting visual themes that can focus on our audiences’ needs. Disciplined creativity is the most powerful tool in the MagentaDot Brands’ branding toolkit.
Recipe for packaging design success
- What is the market for your product? How big is it? Is the market growing market or is the sector jam-packed with almost identical products.
- Who is going to buy your product?
- What will distinguish your product from your competitors?
What is it that your competitors are doing well, and what are they failing to do well?
- Is your product stable on the retail shelf, or are there special handling and shipping requirements that need acknowledged and taken into account at the outset?
- Who is going to produce your product and how will they do that? Do you intend to manufacture it yourself or are you going to outsource the manufacturing?
- This opens a host of questions about plant, the location, manufacturing processes and food safety to name a few. If you plan to manufacture it yourself. Whether this is your plan, or the previous option you are going to need to prepare a business plan.
The better prepared you are, the better you know your product and the more familiar you are with the steps involved to get your product made, branded, labelled, packaged, shipped and launched, the better the design and print project will flow. Contact me here to start a conversation about your branding and packaging project.
*NB. All stakeholders includes everyone who gets to express a credible view on the design project on the client side. If that includes the chief executive’s wife, husband or P.A., if their opinions weigh in on the client side review of the creative work their views must be factored into researching the “problem statement” and writing the creative brief.