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Balancing Briefing and Ideation for Impactful Marketing Campaigns

When businesses and creatives work together on brand building and comms, briefing and ideation play a significant role in shaping successful campaigns. Each process has its distinct purpose and benefits. In this article, we will explore when it is appropriate to brief and when to include ideation.

Briefing vs. Ideation: Understanding the difference

Before diving into the benefits, it is crucial to understand the distinctions between briefing and ideation.

Briefing: The briefing stage typically occurs at the outset of a project.  The business has determined a need for a message to a certain demographic. A brief serves as the foundation for how that message will be communicated and highlights the objectives, the target audience and the action required.

Ideation: Ideation is the process of collaborating to explore various possibilities of how to address the objectives outlined in the brief. Ideation is most effective when stakeholders from the business and the creatives representing the audience are present. This creates an active collaboration between parties which is more effective and efficient (and more fun) than old agency-style pitches.

When to brief and when to ideate.

Brief only when the work is well defined: Briefs are most suitable when you need the technical skill of creatives to create the work and there is little ambiguity. For example, you may need a photographer for an event or an editor to assemble simple footage or graphics from a script.

Ideate when you need innovation: Ideation is essential when you are looking to engage your audience in novel ways. Ideation is a positive process of evolving ideas and without this process, you may find your message lacks engagement or ends up mimicking the competition.

Combining both: For most creative campaigns you need to combine briefing and ideation.  Brief to initially establish a foundation and then ideate to explore creative ways to achieve those goals.

From a message to engagement

Here is a real-life example of a brief that has involved an ideation session to brainstorm ways to engage an audience. Disney needed to show the inside of its new cruise liners to prospective buyers. The conventional business message for this would be “A tour of the ship”. But of course, this is Disney, so they are innovative with how this is presented to their target audience of young families. The combination of storytelling and creativity made Disney’s message not just informative but part of the experience of a magical holiday. 

Have a look at how Disney and their creative team conveyed the message:

So, remember, when embarking on your next marketing campaign, leverage both briefing and ideation to ensure your message not only informs but captivates and resonates with your target audience, leaving a lasting impression.

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