Introduction

At Sortlist, we help 300 companies per week in their research for the right agency. In order to fulfil that mission, we study every single projects companies share with us, which means 1000 briefings per week on average. Needless to say, after examining so many projects and submitting them to agencies, we’ve seen some interesting patterns and we have important insights to share with you. 

A striking fact that you shouldn’t ignore is that the more complete and thorough a briefing is, the more likely is the company to find a relevant partner and therefore see strong results after the project is completed. 

Lucky for you, not only do we know your future agency, but we also know how you can write a brief that will maximize your results with Sortlist.

After reading this article, you will know exactly which information should stand in your briefing and why it should be there. Let’s go! 

The Purpose of a Briefing

Writing a briefing is a challenge, because it’s asking us to take the vision we have in our head and put it out in order for someone else to understand it.

Think of it this way : you’re a customer in a restaurant, any search engine you’re using is the waiter taking your order, and the agencies are the cooks. 

In our little scenery, the customer asks for a plate of pasta and gives no further information. After all, his vision of pasta is pretty clear and to him, pasta = spaghetti bolognese. 

Based on that information, the waiter goes to the kitchen, looks at all the available cooks that are in the kitchen, and he chooses Gordon : the master cook of farfalle with pesto. Why ? Because in the mind of this waiter, asking for pasta means farfalle with pesto. 

Gordon then cooks the plate, gives it to the waiter, and the food gets delivered to the customer.

What happens ? 

  • Huge disappointment from the customer, because what’s being delivered to him doesn’t match the vision he had for his dinner. 

  • The waiter feels bad because he did his best based on the information he had. 

  • The cook is not happy because pleasing people with his food is what makes him get up in the morning and it feels like a failure tonight. 

Let’s twist this scenario, and imagine that the customer didn’t just ask for pasta, but told the waiter that what he actually wanted was a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce mixed with garlic, olive oil, beef meat and parmesan cheese. The customer also tells the waiter that he’d like the pasta well cooked, not al dente, made in 30 minutes because he’s in a rush and has a train to catch. Besides, a glass of red wine in order to wait for the food would be very appreciated.

In this scenario, because the information is rich, the gross happiness of everyone gets higher : 

  • The customer gets exactly what he had in mind.

  • The waiter is able to choose the best cook based on all the information he has, which is not Gordon anymore, but Ramsay now. 

  • The cook knows precisely what he has to do, and making clients happy makes him happy. 

Writing a briefing to find the best agency is like ordering food in a restaurant, and the important thing is that people can't know or guess what's in the customer's mind. Therefore, it is necessary to be clear and accurate about what you want. 

The only way to get exactly what you want from an agency is to explain in the most detailed way what your expectations are. And to make that work easier for you, we have drawn up a checklist with all the elements that should be included in your briefing.

Summing Up

 To sum up, here’s a checklist of all the information that should be in your brief : 

  • How much time do you have?

  • What’s your budget?

  • What’s expected from the agency? 

  • What’s the aim of the project? 

  • Where’s your company based and which public are you aiming for?

  • Are there any selection criteria that matter to you?

  • Can you tell us more about you and your company?

We hope this article has been helpful and that those insights will help you write killer briefings!

For further information, don’t hesitate to contact us via the chat box or consult our help center.

Your next project is on its way? Start writing your brief and we’ll help you find the best partner right away! 

Credits article: Tancrède D'Aspremont Lynden

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