When you review a brief before teams get kicked off on an assignment, what are the things you look for? I have my things but I’d love to learn about what other CDs look for too.

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Just a few things I look for:
- is this direction ownable and compelling
- does this brief have viable insights that people actually care about?
- is it inspiring for creatives or is it just written for the clients?
- is this brief concise enough?
- is there 1 main communication object vs 4 different points the work needs to hit?
- what are the kpis?
- are the deliverables clear?
- are the rtbs prioritized?
- Budget!


Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Personally I only need these 4 things: Objective, Budget, Timing, Key Insight...and does that key insight provide fertile ground to grow some great creative concepts.


Is the brief...brief. If it has 7 “single most important messages”, back it goes.

For sure. Single-mindedness is definitely something I look out for as well. Thanks for sharing.

A proposition. It’s shocking how rare they appear in the wild.

Thanks for the insight. I find that some of the best creatives are great planners themselves in that they can uncover the human truths and emotional benefits that many planners struggle to find. And vice versa, really. The best strategists are part creative. They may not have the idea in its consumer-facing way, but I find that the good ones have nuggets that are germs of ideas.


GCD1 has a great list.

I also cross reference each thing on the brief as “checksums” to verify if the brief will actually work. Sometimes a brief seems fine at first glance, but then falls apart under scrutiny.

Do the KPIs truly point to the client’s business goal, or were they randomly chosen
Does the insight make sense for your target
Can the insight’s influence be found in the proposition, or does the prop seem tacked-on
Does the prop actually appeal to the target
Does the scope match the schedule

Also, my number one pet peeve is when an observable piece of data is called an insight. You have to check if it’s a true insight.

Thanks for weighing in. This is a really smart way to evaluate a brief.

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