How to write a good media brief

Hamish Pringle and Jim Marshall

The client brief is an early hurdle at which the agency media strategist can fall. Too often it will not supply sufficient, clear, or even accurate inforĀ­mation. There is a technical term for this problem and the strategy that will result: 'crap in, crap out'. But the responsibility for this is not solely the client's – it also rests with the agency strategist, whose first responsibility is to interrogate the client's brief to ensure that it provides all the necessary information and data, including a specified hard business objective. If it doesn't (and you can generally assume that it won't all be entirely clear), additional discussions must take place. Gratifyingly, the recent research by ISBA, the advertisers' trade body, to update the joint industry best-practice guide on briefing revealed that a significant number of UK advertisers are now using the questions proposed in the original guide published in 2003 as the basis for their briefs to their agencies:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • What are we doing to get there?
  • Who do we need to talk to?
  • How will we know when we have arrived?