“That’s not what we imagined.” This sentence is probably the last thing a service provider would want to hear from a client as feedback for their work. Especially if one is of the opinion that all agreed information has been taken into account. Often the difficulty lies not in the execution, but in the communication of the task. In order to prevent this problem, special attention should be paid to the briefing.
As the name suggests, a briefing prepares the recipient briefly and precisely for a task. Depending on the project, company and service provider, this can take various forms. Whether as a short, informal e-mail or as a multi-page, detailed presentation, the main purpose of introducing the recipients to a task as clearly as possible should always be the focus.
Clear objectives for increased efficiency
Before the contractor can be briefed, the client must first be clear about the objectives to be pursued and the core messages to be conveyed. This “self-briefing” can determine whether the campaign succeeds or fails. Five questions sum up the requirements of self-briefing:
- Objective: What should the campaign achieve?
- Target group: Who should be reached?
- Challenge: What stands in the way of achieving the objective?
- Core message: What should be primarily communicated to the target group?
- Core contents: What must be implemented?
The answers to these questions not only increase clarity within the company, but also serve as an essential part of the subsequent agency briefing. However, caution should be exercised regarding the last question in particular, as a briefing that is too restrictive can limit creativity. A balance has to be struck by providing clear information that is not restrictive.
New communication structures require a different type of briefing
Against the background of digitalization, the topic of briefing has changed considerably, especially in the communications industry and in marketing. The outsourcing of services results in changed communication structures, so that information usually has to be passed on through several stops along the way. In order to avoid misunderstandings, several aspects should be considered during the briefing.
The bottom line
Ideally, the briefing prepares all participants for their respective tasks and provides an overview of the various tasks within the project. Even if the client’s requirements seem clear, they must always ask themselves how an outside agency will understand the briefing. All possible questions must be addressed and clarified in order to ensure a smooth process. The people receiving the briefing should also ask questions to prevent a rude awakening in the end.
We have created a checklist of issues that require particular attention during an agency briefing and the standards that enable a smooth process from the initial situation to successful implementation. You can download the guide with our checklist for the perfect briefing here: