How do I write the perfect agency brief?

By Tim Wiffen, Back-end Developer

You want great work. The agency wants to create great work. It’s a win-win. Ready for some generic stock images? Let’s go.

Start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to begin. Assume your agency knows nothing about your business. They might have worked with you for a number of years or maybe they’re new to you. Don’t expect the agency to know about your latest corporate decisions. Include them – make them part of your overall team.

Sending it to a prospective agency?

Give them your history. A prospective agency will deliver a brilliant pitch if they have a good understanding of your business. The best briefs are laid out in well-defined sections. Let’s break those sections down:

What challenges are you facing?

What do you want to achieve? What do you want your target audience to think about you? You have a problem and that’s why you’re going to your agency. Tell them why your objectives will solve it. This section should just be a few bullet points summarising these questions.

Those all-important timings

When do you want to see the work by? There could be a hard deadline. It might be better to have separate deadlines and reconvene after the initial work to discuss the success. Then you can get on to future work possibilities. You may need the work done before an important event. Let your agency know all the details up front.

Laptop and planner on a desk“Buying a lightweight laptop means I can lug this big planner around.”

Talk numbers

If you want a realistic proposal, a budget is vital. If it helps, give a bullet-pointed list of what the budget should cover. Consider supplying a separate budget for ongoing support after the initial work is done.

Got some complicated stuff?

You might want some complicated functionality in your project. So what’s the best way to explain this to your agency? Hand-drawn diagrams of workflow or some type of visualisation of how it will work are great solutions. Even a fairly crude drawing can be better than a few paragraphs.

Are there must-haves?

Tell your agency what they absolutely can’t change. Things such as budget, deadlines, logo, and often brand colours. You don’t want to waste time looking at unusable proposals.

Give them your deets

Are you the main point of contact? Is there a team of people? Tell the agency who’ll be involved in this project and the best times and ways to contact you.

Reread your brief

When you think you’re ready to send the brief to your agency, read it through and try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t know your business. Is it clear? Does it get to the point? The easier it is to understand, the better position the agency will be in to create a proposal. You got this. Group hug.

People in a meeting celebrating“James, don’t lean on my laptop.”

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