You walk into work at your usual time, pick up your morning chai – chill and think “This is the day. This is the day I will be a positive person. I love my life and my job because insert motivational quote about life…” Just then you get a ping on your phone: it’s a new email followed by the panic-inducing sound of hurried footsteps.
You hear the most dreadful words known to man, or at least to a creative: “Boss.. brief ayee hai… email ki hai”, while he stands too close for comfort and coaxes you to open it.
Now this can go down a number of ways:
1. FW: Project Name
We have all received this email. It is an entire 108-email long thread where the brand manager, the subordinates and your client service team are having a conversation about everything, from proposal to budget, to what time they should meet to make use of those free movie tickets. What is your job you may ask? It’s simple: extract all relevant information and show three concepts with accompanying artworks by day end.
The cryptic email that requests for a con-call. Now don’t get me wrong, some con-calls are very informative. But most of the time, you are on mute staring at a blank space (if your boss is in the room) or scrolling through Facebook because you know the minutes of the meeting will be emailed, so your presence is pretty irrelevant.
3. The “Aap Creative Hain?”
A one-liner email which contains the project name and meeting time. As there are no other details, you proceed to believe it’s a briefing session. But au contraire, mon ami, it’s actually to put you on the spot and corner you with “so what are your thoughts?” or “what are your recommendations?”
4. The faux brief
This is the Holy Grail. You have marked your Google calendar and blocked out two hours from the day. The brand team, the product team, the IT department and all the other teams and departments you have even vaguely heard of are there. This is an overwhelming session that will make your ears bleed while the client continues to talk in circles around you.
5. ‘Make it like …’ The most dreaded brief of them all is an email with an attachment that looks like a YouTube clip. This is mostly a request that goes as follows: “Don’t copy but get inspired”. A part of you dies, another makes you realise you were never alive to begin with.
Don’t get me wrong, not all those who wonder are lost. Amidst all the above, there does lie a brief and as most of the time the agency and client relationship is steady, it’s easy to steer your way through any of them. However, if things are streamlined and documented it’s easier for both parties.
It’s called a BRIEF for a reason. It is supposed to be short, sweet and to the point – email in advance, have a small briefing session and you are good to go. For the clients, a brief simply make the agency liable for what it presents and gives them the tools and guidelines to make sure they don’t go astray.
Simply put, a brief helps us help you!
Sana Naeem is Creative Director, The Brand Crew.