Briefing an agency: a best practice guide to briefing communications agencies
Get the most out of your communications agency with help from this guide, which draws from research conducted among over 140 advertisers and agencies. This guide was developed by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, and partner professional bodies ISBA, Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) and PRCA.
Why briefing an agency is important
If your role involves marketing communictions, then briefing an agency is one of the most important things you do. How you brief determines what you get back. This is reflected in agencies having to say rather too often that: 'clients get the work they deserve'.
Do all great communication campaigns come from great briefs? No, but the chances of getting good if not great work are increased significantly by a brief into which some real thought has been invested.
Marketing communications, be that any of the disciplines of advertising, digital, PR, direct, social media etc, not only involve a substantial financial investment, but have the potential to change the shape of the business, for better or worse. Briefing communications agencies requires the same level of professionalism, attention and thought as any other area of business activity. Just because it involves creativity and ideas does not mean that these qualities are needed less, indeed they are needed more because of the degree of subjectivity involved.
Whether it is a top creative agency or a small local outfit, a major strategic initiative across multiple disciplines or a specialised low value project, the same core principles of good briefing can be applied.
At its heart it's about working out what you want and communicating this in a way that gets the right result.
The result of a better brief is that the right work is delivered faster. This can have a dramatic effect on efficiency and on costs. If, on average, it takes an agency three presentations of work to get to the bought solution, imagine the saving in time and cost of reducing that process to an average of two or even getting it right the first time.
Better briefing will produce better results faster and at lower cost. It's not a business option but a business imperative.