Ten Components of a Creative Brief

The 10 Components of a Highly Actionable Creative Brief

So you’ve developed a brand strategy.  On paper, it articulates the timeless value your institution provides in answer to the hopes and dreams of your best-fit families and students.

That’s great!

But now what?

How do you bring the brand strategy you have down on paper to life in the real world?

How do you make your brand drive enrollment, retention, and fundraising?

Tip #1 to education marketers: Use a creative brief.

What Is a Creative Brief and Why Do You Need One?

Think of a good creative brief as your North Star.  It guides every decision about brand and design execution.

A creative brief helps you link the critical elements of your brand strategy—your positioning and messaging—with the critical elements of your creative strategy.

Remember that effective communication is not a skin-deep process. A new logo, website, video, or viewbook might look gorgeous.  But if they convey a tone, voice, or imagery that does not reflect or illustrate your brand strategy, their beauty will quickly fade.

You need to make creative and design decisions deliberately.  After all, you aren’t just trying to grab visual attention.  You’re trying to communicate your brand strategy in a fresh, inspiring, and meaningful way.

The creative brief is essential to guiding thoughtful, purposeful, and effective creative executions.

What Questions Should You Ask as You Build a Creative Brief?

Through our 30+ years working with leading independent schools, colleges, and universities, we have identified 10 components of a highly actionable creative brief, one that makes the initial creative development process and ongoing brand management infinitely easier.

In the list below, we’ve included the key questions to ask to define and describe each component as you build your brief:

10 Components of a Highly Actionable Brief

  1. Project – what are we doing?
  2. Objective – why are we doing it?
  3. How will the creative execution achieve this?
  4. Primary communication target – who is the #1 audience we need to influence?  What do we know about them?
  5. Enrollment challenges – what is preventing the target from choosing us?
  6. Brand positioning – what is our brand positioning and the main idea we need to communicate?
  7. Support – why might they believe this?
  8. Tone and manner – what type of brand character supports the message
  9. Executional considerations – what to keep in mind when developing the work?
  10. Elements of the creative execution

BEFORE BEGINNING to develop a creative brief, the institutions that have the most success with making their brand drive enrollment also consider and discuss:

  • All the different types of materials used in our enrollment communications — websites, print and digital ads, brochures and viewbooks, videos, etc.
  • If and how prospects use them during the consideration process.
  • How all the critical elements work together most effectively.

Going through this pre-brief exercise will not only add to the creative brief’s comprehensive quality but also help develop an action plan for implementation.

Make Your Brand Drive Enrollment

Only when you combine brand strategy, creative strategy, and execution will you successfully drive enrollment growth with your brand. A creative brief is one of the most powerful tools available to move your brand strategy from paper to the real world–AND keep your creative work and communications planning on track.

SEE CREATIVE STRATEGY IN ACTION: Read our client case studies to see how EdwardsCo had helped independent schools, colleges, and universities make their brand drive enrollment growth.

Posted on March 7, 2017 in Creative Platform, Fundraising, Higher Education, Ideas and insights, Independent Schools

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