Brand Building Part 2: Tips for writing a sound creative brief

Aperio FMCG ConsultingBrand Building Part 2: Tips for writing a sound creative brief

By Michael Wood, Director of Aperio, a business consulting company focused on accelerating growth of FMCG brands in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Building brands is no easy matter. Brand marketing has never been more challenging, complex and competitive as it is today. This is the second in a series of three blogs that outlines the common pitfalls brands make, and provides insights on how to go from good to great in brand building.

Poor advertising results from a poor brief

How often do we see advertising that is off-strategy? If you’re not clear on your brand equity and who your consumer is, then it’s no wonder that an advertising message can yield poor results.

Quality briefing of agencies is critical in turning out quality advertising communication. Often brand managers are not trained on how to brief an agency and we have found that there are an alarming number of cases where agencies write the creative brief themselves.

Brand Building Part 2

If your agency does not understand your brand equity, your consumer and what motivates them, how can you even begin to brief the agency for what you want?

Tips for preparing a creative or advertising brief:

TIP 1: Advertising briefs should start with a good description of your brand and its business. This should include: its history, current state of the brand’s performance as well as the business challenges and goals.

TIP 2: Briefs should clearly state what your brand equity is and who your consumer is.

Tip 3: Briefs should explain in detail the context of the need for new advertising creative.

The more creative teams understand about your brand, consumers, business and goals, the better the advertising creative will be.

What about the retailer?

Designing brand initiatives that don’t appeal to retailers are also a common mistake. Most brand builders focus on growing sales, market share and profitability of the brand without considering what the retailer wants. Why is this so important?


Unless the retailer supports your brand initiative it won’t get onto the shelf and into shoppers hands.


TIP 1: Ask yourself if your brand is good for the retailer’s business, does it improve or dilute his profits? Some questions you should ask about your initiative include:

  • Does it add additional complexity or simplify?
  • Does it improve or dilute the retailer’s profitability?
  • How can the retailer put it on shelf, does something have to come out for your brand to go in?

TIP 2: Brands need to examine the practical complexities of their initiative compared to the additional benefits for the retailer. During the initial stages of initiative planning this process should be done so that plans can be adapted to encompass the retailer’s needs.

TIP 3: When deciding to create and launch a new product, marketers need to ask what is in it for the retailer. The retailer is looking at the category, not at your brand. Unless you understand how the retailer looks at initiatives and whether your plan either meets or exceeds its needs, your initiative will fail before it's even on shelf.

Read Brand Building Part 3: Creating Value vs. Price