Are you losing production time due to bad creative briefs?

If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four sharpening the axe.
— Abraham Lincoln

A creative project kick-off is the hardest bottleneck to crack for agile creative operations, with creative brief playing a major role in it. A well-written brief is a cornerstone of any creative project. It brings together all the stakeholders from the start and ensures everybody is making use of the same guide for specifying the target audience and articulating the “whys” for an artwork.

As per the 2015 ANA study conducted between clients and agencies, 58% of clients believed they had provided detailed creative project briefings to the agency, on the contrary only 27% of the agencies shared the same opinion. Though not much has changed since then, as starting with great communications isn’t a cakewalk in the creative industry.

Creativity is extremely subjective and so are creative briefs.

Creativity has never been so important than today. And with several agencies producing massive volumes of advertising assets, along with the need to be as scalable as possible, the need for better direction for perfect execution has become even more.

However, what makes the creative brief a disaster, and what can cause enlightenment turning into a puzzle, is the lack of a productive and collaborative relationship between the agencies and clients. And the problem doubles up in outsourcing, as language barriers and cultural differences cause a chaotic web of communication and understanding issues, impacting the creative process efficiency badly.

The challenge is to resolve the predictable partnership workflow process by making a shift to a collaborative briefing approach — a perfect union of strategic understanding and streamlined creative production to save time.

Is your creative brief a source of confusion, or is it a treasure map to the successful creative operations endeavor?

If you don't have a well-produced brief for marketing asset creation process uniting stakeholders from different disciplines and from different parts of the world (considering you’ve geographically distributed teams, different time zones), you can undoubtedly fall prey to the following incidents that might cause a massive creative production delay:

  • Time wasted in meetings and discussions - Usually, an agency gets client requests through meetings or email, and then the stakeholders clear up missing or ambiguous items throughout the production process. Now the whole process turns out to be quite lengthy due to the back-and-forth involved, with not the right people participating from the start asking the appropriate questions early enough to help set up for success. This leads to wastage of time, leaving less time for execution. All that is required here is collaboration, some changes, agreements, and approvals by each stakeholder to ease up hand-offs and new team member on-boarding.

  • Deliverables lacking the quality quotient – There is a strong connection between a well-written brief and the quality of work that is delivered in response to it. Great briefs are a source of inspiration! They are undoubtedly the excitement booster. A well-written brief is a direct consequence of setting comprehensible objectives, aligning with them, and vetting expectations up front.

  • More revisions – How many times has it happened that a client received what he expected out of a creative in the very first round? Mostly, multiple iterations or a couple of rounds of revisions of the same creative is just a common norm of any creative project. Collaborative creative briefs can slash the number of revisions in half – if not more. If creative professionals truly comprehend what you call for from the very start, and they have a written summarization of that request that they can refer and fact-check as the project progresses, then their chances of providing you with your desired end-result get more. This eventually saves you time as well as money.

Bad briefs are frustration boosters. Get rid of them!

Briefs that are not well-written are frustrating for agencies and cost clients both time as well as money — for agency revisions and the resulting agency costs and all this might crop up confusion and chaos. So, both clients and agencies should agree on the significance of collaborative briefing to strengthen a more fruitful alliance. The following points might help in improving your briefing process.


To produce campaigns that pull off in the very first go calls for better understanding of the requirements. A precise direction is what a creative team looks for. Every stakeholder should be on the same page and be in sync to create a briefing document which would result in producing the desired result on time without wastage of efforts.


Language and cultural differences are the common obstacles to shared business objectives in outsourcing projects. A common goal calls for a common language and terminology when working with a geographically-distributed team. A set of comprehensible terms should be part of a creative brief to clear off all the differences and ambiguity and enhance better understanding between both the agency and the client.

Creative definition

Defining creativity is another important factor that affects the overall creative production process. Your brief should clearly highlight the creative expectations from your agency i.e. what creative discretion is allowed, brand guidelines, etc. One could also try defining levels of creativity that agency may adhere to while executing the campaign.


All in all, creative teams should adopt the psychology that one must “fall in love with the problem” to successfully and efficiently solve it. At Express KCS, we have understood that having a comprehensive, accessible brief is a key to a creative team’s ability for delivering campaigns ON TIME, ON BUDGET and ON BRAND. Over the years, we’ve developed and adapted to a unique briefing system including set of creativity definitions and brief evaluation process which has helped us gain creative production efficiencies.

Furthermore, our cloud-based workflow system Mediaferry empowers us to manage end-to-end process in real time. It also provides a comprehensive briefing form that can be adapted according to different campaign requirements. In addition, all stakeholders can work together in one single platform thereby improving the collaborations between teams.

For more details to kick off your next creative project using a smart system where you can work collaboratively to not lose out on the production time, get in touch with us at