Why Do Brands Make Their Briefs So Complicated?

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Why so complicated?


Avril Lavinge voice “TELL ME WHY’D YOU HAVE TO GO AND MAKE THINGS SO COMPLICATED!?”

 No but seriously.

 I’ve worked with a fair few amount of brands in my time and all of them have many different briefs. Half of the time its “here’s the product, do whatever you want with it”, some of the time its “here’s the product, we have a general theme around this campaign please follow that.” And on occasion its “No, we’re not going to give you the product, but we have this campaign we want to do, you have to do this and this and this and this, but not this. And you can’t do this. And definitely not that.”

And my question is, why?

I sometimes get the feeling that brands/clients try and be too clever with their campaigns. In fact, I’ve turned quite a few down because I really didn’t understand what they were asking me to do, even after asking multiple questions! I know, I know, brands want to stand out with their campaigns and put thought into them, but I increasingly wonder whether the people we are advertising to actually care whether the campaign is clever or not. A lot of the time, I don’t. Let’s take a fictional scenario: If a new book is coming out, I’d much rather have complete creative freedom with what I can do with MY PHOTO rather than having a set of guidelines that I have to follow or a theme that I have to abide to because the publisher/agency thinks its a great idea. Surely, you will get a wider variety of photos if your brief is more simple and open? And trying to get your creative talents into a really tight brief is really difficult and doesn't' always get the best results.

As influencers we are busy people, yes we may have the best job in the world but we are still busy. We often have at least ten different pieces of content we are trying to do, and a lot of the time, we are having to deal with more than one campaign at the same time. When a campaign gets overcomplicated, it becomes really stressful, especially when we are having to reshoot because the ‘content doesn’t fit the brief’ that was difficult to understand in the first place! My favourite types of campaigns are the ones where I’m allowed to do whatever I want, or the ones that ask for a concept to approve in the first place. In fact, my favourite line to see in an email is “we love your content and trust you to do your thing.” I FREAKING LOVE THAT. I’d like to think that a brand has reached out to me because they love my content, rather than just seeing the numbers and engagement and try to mould me into a campaign.

By all means, having a brief is important. And saying you want your campaign to have a theme isn’t a bad thing, but in my opinion, it’s more effective to keep the briefs as simple as possible for everyone involved. We create content for a job, we know what we are doing and we LOVE what we are doing. But please, PLEASE, keep your campaigns as simple as possible. 

I just think sometimes brands and agencies over complicate things for the sake of it, maybe to prove that "marketing" in the traditional way is still needed.

The best influences in my opinion know their style, know their audience, know what works and know how to make your product meaningful and important to their audience.

A perfect brief to me would look like this:

  1. Here is what we want to achieve with this campaign - one particular focus.

  2. Here is the style and vibe we are after ( which should fit with the inflencers they have chosen).

  3. Here is why we chose you and here is some content we love that you have produced previously.

  4. Here are some things we would love you to consider.

  5. Please be as creative as want.

  6. Here are our brand values so you can get a feel for us.

To me this would be perfect. It would allow me to do me while also taking into account what the client wants to achieve and focus on.

What are your thoughts on this topic I would love to know.

This post was originally published on Linkedin.

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