What do Clint Eastwood and Marketing have in common?!

Clint Eastwood once said “What you put into life is what you get out” - and I believe the same goes for your marketing even when you are leaving it with an expert.

We are too busy to do everything ourselves and there are some things best left to the experts, but so often friends and colleagues come to me for advice about what has gone wrong with their supplier who has not done what they asked - “My website is taking ages and the logo is rubbish” - But when I ask to see the brief I often get a blank face.

The thing is a brief has 2 roles to play. Firstly it’s your evidence - If your supplier genuinely does mess it up, you have something to fall back on and can then objectively ask them to correct the work.

Secondly, it’s also a good way to get you to think about what you are really trying to achieve and what you actually want.  Because unless you are crystal clear, you have little hope of your supplier second guessing and getting it right.  The more effort you put into a considered well thought out brief, the better the output you will get from your supplier and in less time.

You don’t want pages and pages of information where what you actually want done gets lost, so keep it brief, but make sure you include the following essentials:

BRAND & PROJECT NAME: Your supplier is working on many projects at once, so give it a title to give it focus

BACKGROUND:  What are the important things to know about your business or this project? What has made you decide to do this project? Even if you know your supplier, don’t assume they know all this - they aren’t as tuned into your daily business as you are

OBJECTIVE: What is the objective of this project?  To launch a new website? To engage better?  To re-brand? Attract a new audience?....

TARGET CUSTOMER (S): Who are you trying to attract?  What do they think / know about your brand now? And what do you want them to think as a result of the project?

CONSIDERATIONS:   What is the brand design / style that you are after?  Are there any practical considerations (e.g. height restrictions for display unit)? Examples of what you do and don’t like. Also, consider how this project might lead to other related projects – as that may have an impact on the overall design.

BUDGET:  Be clear on how much you want to spend, or if you really don’t want to give anything away just yet, make sure you get a clear budget and breakdown of the output before you proceed

TIMING: What’s your deadline and are there any particular milestones to meet (e.g. 1st drafts required before a specific client meeting)? Make sure your supplier breaks the project down with dates

THE BRIEF:  What do you specifically want them to do?  E.g if building a website, do you also need them to create a logo, source visuals, copy write etc? Or do you have the material and just need them to create the website structure, design and functionality. 

OUTPUT:  What is your expected output?  

STAKEHOLDERS: Is there anyone else involved in the project that will need to buy into the output?

CONFIDENTIALITY:  For anyone working on your business, make sure you have confidentiality in place for protection.

APPENDIX: This is an opportunity to refer your supplier to any existing work that gives them more information about your business or project (e.g. brand template, brand plan, examples you like etc)

Your marketing doesn’t have to cost the earth, but if you are using external suppliers, make sure you spend some time briefing them properly to ensure they fully understand what you are trying to achieve and how you want to achieve it.  Putting this time in up front will save everyone time and money, as well as make you look professional, which helps raise your suppliers’ expectations of what they need to deliver to you.