A bad brief can lead to misalignments. This can show up as a misalignment of objectives, creating a disconnect between you and your team, or your agency/consultancy.

The lack of clarity hinders strategic planning and undermines the ability to achieve desired outcomes.

A poor brief can waste resources.

It sends your team down the wrong path, one that they have to backtrack on and start from the beginning again. This results in inefficient utilisation of time, budget, and talents, leading to missed deadlines, increased costs, and the need for revisions or rework.

On the other hand, a good brief – in our discipline – can be like a breath of fresh air after having spent too much time breathing in the haze surrounding us.

The consequences of giving bad briefs

Bad briefs are typically a result of ineffective communication.

Insufficient information in the brief can cause misunderstandings and delays, impacting the quality of deliverables and one reason for failing to resonate with the target audience.

It can restrict creativity and innovation by providing limited inspiration, insights, or creative freedom. This reduces the ability to develop unique and compelling PR strategies, resulting in generic or uninspiring content.

A bad brief can strain relationships between the client, internal teams, and external agencies/consultants, leading to a breakdown in trust and collaboration, which can have long-term consequences for future campaigns and partnerships.

Let’s explore in more detail several consequences of a bad brief:

good brief

What if it was possible to prepare good briefs…every time?

Based on experience, it is possible to consistently craft good briefs with proper planning and communication. This requires a systematic approach and adherence to best practices when putting a brief together.

The emphasis here is on ‘every time’ and consistency.

Adopting a systematic approach in crafting briefs helps ensure consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness.

It involves implementing structured processes and guidelines to enhance the quality of brief.

This approach involves implementing brief templates that include key sections such as objectives, target audience, key messages, and desired outcomes. It also emphasises the importance of briefing meetings or workshops to gather information, thorough research and data gathering, and establishing review and approval processes. Proper documentation, version control, and a feedback loop for evaluation are crucial elements as well.

The goal is to ensure briefs are consistently developed with clarity, comprehensiveness, and alignment with strategic goals. The approach enhances communication, streamlines processes, and minimizes misinterpretation or ambiguity. It also facilitates collaboration between you and your team/agency/consultancy while encouraging efficient resource utilization.

Here are the first 2 steps in putting together a good brief for your organisation.

Out of all the areas and information that you can include in a brief, here are the first 2 steps that you should not skip or miss out on.

If the information is not available, take a step back and confer with stakeholders repeatedly until the information is sufficient.

Without these key points, continuing the rest of the brief will only be a waste of time.

Clear objectives: This step sets the foundation for success by providing a clear direction for the entire campaign.

Comprehensive audience analysis: By including a comprehensive audience analysis, the brief ensures that the PR efforts are precisely targeted and have a higher likelihood of success.

Including these two steps in a good brief sets the stage for a focused and effective communications/PR campaign.

Sidebar: The compounding effects of giving good briefs.

The point of giving a good brief is not just about enjoying the good outcome that happens for your programme or campaign.

Consistency will lead to compound effects, especially when it is supported by a a long-term mindset that focuses on sustainable growth, positive feedback loops, competitive advantage, and personal career development.

This perspective allows you to leverage the cumulative impact of consistently delivering high-quality briefs, which can ultimately lead to greater organisation/brand success and professional fulfillment.

By considering the compounding perspective, you can shift your focus beyond individual projects or immediate outcomes and look at the broader picture of growth, reputation, and sustained success.

Here are some of the long-term benefits and cumulative impact that consistently providing high-quality briefs can have on programmes/campaigns and the overall success of you and your team:

Here are 3 more steps to insert into your brief preparation workflow.

good brief

In addition to the earlier 2 steps shared, you can tap on these 3 more steps to further improve your preparation workflow.

Thorough research and insights:

SMART goals and KPIs:

Tactical recommendations and implementation guidelines:

One additional recommendation is to engage your team and agency/consultancy in a collaborative brainstorm session. The combined team – through open dialogue, active participation, and a non-judgmental atmosphere – can help shortcut the concept process by generating ideas for the programme and campaign. It also encourages ownership within the team as it is a shared idea and not one forced upon any party.

By incorporating these additional steps into the workflow, you and your team can further enhance the quality and effectiveness of your briefs. Together, these steps can contribute to consistently creating good briefs that drive impactful campaigns.

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