A creative brief is a document used by designers, writers, artists, and agencies of all kinds in the production of everything from graphic design and copy, to websites and commercials. They can come in many shapes and sizes depending on the industry, and are usually tailored by the person requesting the information who will know best which questions (and answers) are of paramount importance to them in order to deliver a high-quality creative execution.
In the advertising world, creative briefs are often written after a client brief has been received, but a creative brief is equally important when producing content in-house to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It can also help to refer back to this agreen-upon strategic document should the project ever go off track.
In video production, a creative brief is no less integral to success. While we tend to tailor our creative briefs based on the specifics of the project and on the information received in our client briefs, there are some questions (and answers) that are critical to producing any video that gets results.
Sample Creative Brief for Video Production
1. Project Background and Objectives
When answering this question, start by decribing why you're producing the video in the first place. Is it part of a larger campaign or initiative? What specific outcome are you hoping to achieve?
Try to avoid ‘fuzzy’ words here, like "to educate", "to inform", or even to "increase awareness". Instead, focus on changes in behaviour which can be measured. What would happen as a result of "increased awareness"?
Further Reading: Getting Strategic with Video - 4 Questions to Ask Yourself First
2. Target Audience
If everyone is our audience, then nobody is! It’s best to focus on one primary audience per video, although it's okay to have a secondary or tertiary audience in some cases. If you find that do you have several audiences, it might be a sign that you need several videos.
It can also help to provide a buyer persona which is a semi-fictional portrait of your ideal customer. Buyer personas include the usual demographic information, but are more focused on their motivations and goals. Buyer personas attempt to describe what prospective customers are thinking and doing as they make their way through the buyer's journey.
3. Key Message(s)
Your key message(s) should be stated from the perspective of those we’re trying to influence. Answer the question “what’s in it for me?”. A clear description of these benefits will help your message not only be understood but acted upon.
The goal should be to define one key message per audience. If you've more than one key message, it again might be a sign that you need to produce more than one video.
4. How and Where the Video will be Distributed
We believe that videos should be contexual and platform-specific, whenever possible. There are several reasons why your videos should be produced with the platform in mind:
- There are different limits in length. Some platforms have limits of 1 minute, while pre-roll ads may be even less.
- Aspect ratios can vary. On Facebook, square or even vertical videos tend to work better than widescreen.
- Silent-autoplay is becoming more prevalent. This can may producing videos that don't rely on a voice-over in order to maximize engagement with relying on captions.
- The call-to-action should be relevant. Asking them to visit your website might make sense for YouTube, but if they're already there?
Scripting several slight variations of the same video for each intended platform can be a very cost effective way to maximize the results of your video.
Further Reading: 5 Reasons Why Videos Should be Platform Specific
5. Tone of Voice
Light-hearted or serious? Friendly or professional? It can be difficult to put this into words, which is why we'll often ask for examples of any similar videos you've seen that you like - or don't like - to use as a reference for a video's the style and tone, along with any branding guidelines that might exist.
6. Any Mandatory Elements
Any non-negotiables should be included here, like the client's logo, tagline, signature sound - anything that ansolutely needs to be in the video. You could also describe anything that should be avoided, like colours that are similar to a competitor's, or any industry jargon or terms that might be off-putting for your audience.
How soon would you like to get started? Is there a specific deadline? How many rounds of revisions and approvals will be necessary?
At this stage, a specific budget should have been allocated for the project. If you're still in the budgeting phase, it might be helpful to work with a video production partner or consultant you trust to help establish a realistic budget for the project. The creative team will need to be aware of any financial constraints in determining an approach for the project.
Further Reading: How Video Production is Priced
9. Approval Process
It's important for a video producer to know what the approval process will be so that a realistic timeline can be created. The more people involved - you guessed it - the longer things can take, and you should avoid design by committee at all costs. You'd also want to consider any planned vacations of any key stakeholders which could hold up the process.
It tends to work best when working with a video production agency to have one central point of contact to represent the client. Their job will be to collect feedback, ensuring that none of it is conflicting, while managing expectations from their entire team.
Video Production Creative Brief Template
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To learn more about about the video production process, download your free copy of The Video Production Field Guide, your guide to the sometimes confusing world of video.