When clients come to us, they usually have an idea of what they want, so instead of asking for the “what”, it’s important to focus on the “why?”
Common responses include: “I like the format” and “I have this all this information to showcase.”
When someone asks us to create a graphic, video or other design for them, we may recommend a different format once we’ve learned about the project in more detail. Believe it or not, we’re actually doing this to make life easier for you. We listen to your objectives and advise based on years of creative content experience.
That’s what creatives do: Solve problems. We don’t just make pretty content.
We make sure that the content we build will reach your audience and improve their relationship with your brand. To achieve this goal, we will ask a lot of questions to make sure the solution delivered is the right one for your problem.
It may feel cumbersome, but we promise it’ll be worth it in the end!
Usually people come to Persuaders with the same problem: “Can you take this pile of words, facts and figures and make them look good?” Sure we can, but is also important to ensure that what they spend time and money on is worth it.
That the resulting presentation/graphic/video reaches their audience.
That their audience understands it.
And perhaps most importantly, that their audience reacts to it.
The two pillars of good design: Context and Content
Creatives are notorious for asking for briefs. Even going to the extent that they won’t continue a conversation without one. In fact, you can buy mugs and t-shirts and all sorts with the slogan “No Brief No Talk.” Yet the briefs they create themselves can stretch on for daaaaaaaaaaaaaays. This can be super time consuming and can leave you wondering why you’re hiring them when you need to provide so much detail and information up front. Aren’t they supposed to be coming up with the ideas?
Here at Persuaders, we take your brief over the phone or a video call. We’ll ask you to provide any links or files relevant for the project (e.g., brand guidelines). We may ask you some tricky questions or require answers to things you may not have thought about before, but the more you supply, the better the result. The reason for this is that the deeper our understanding of your needs, goals, style and requirements upfront, the better the result will be!
Common briefing questions include:
- What is your budget?
We don’t ask about this to trick you or price gouge. This is important because it helps us provide a more informed quote with options you can reasonably choose from. It’s your project, so it really is up to you, not us! We want to help you find a solution that will deliver the best value in your budget ballpark.
- Who is going to see this?
This can be tricky. It may be one person, a whole team or open to the entire internet. The more specific you can be, the better the outcome. We specialise in building narratives directly targeting your audience and integrating them into your content. It’s a fantastic way to engage your audience and make them respond to your brand. However, you do need to know your end user inside and out. If you have no clue who your target audience is, get the team into one of our Customer Experience (CX) workshops to learn about and build your own empathy maps, customer journey maps and personas that will shape future comms and marketing efforts.
- Where will this project end up?
This ultimately impacts the final format, size, dimensions, print requirements or other specifications (specs). Why is this important? If we assume an infographic at A3, then find out it’s actually A4, there is a whole lot of editing and content removal that’s going to eat into your budget. Nobody wants that!
- Do you have branding?
GIVE US EVERYTHING! From logos to swatches, images and guidelines, we’ll take it all. We’ll even ask for previous material created to draw inspiration from or examples of other businesses whose creative you admire. If you’re after some creative branding for your business, we can co-create your new brand with the team in our Visual Voice workshop.
- What is your deadline?
It’s rather obvious that we need to know the final deadline. Did you know that we also map out when to expect your approvals and content? As an agile agency, Persuaders is well experienced in juggling and balancing workloads and competing priorities. Giving us a heads-up if you’re waiting on other stakeholders for approvals or assets, as well as anything else that may interrupt the flow on our end, makes all the difference. While hiccups happen, we’ll always do our best to work around you and make sure you get what you need, when you need it.
Now let’s talk all things ‘content.’
Great designers plan and create around the copy and key message(s) for your audience. There is a rhyme and reason for everything.
Design should elevate content and help visually explain information. It’s the main reason infographics are usually so reliant on icons – they help to get across an idea instantly. As 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, it makes sense to use diagrams, icons and other devices to enhance your written content.
For instance, Persuaders crafted a graphic for ANZ Woman’s Day. The designer used clear icons and illustrations to represent each point simply for the audience to instantly understand. After all, visuals are processed 60k times faster than written content.
The content used for an infographic versus an explainer video is very different. The same way content for a TED Talk is completely different to a yearly report. While there may be a similar theme or concept, each piece requires a different approach.
For instance, a pitch presentation should have very light information that is spoken to. However, the leave behind document provided should contain more complex information to substantiate claims made during the presentation. Same concept, different content execution.
Here are some other nerdy questions we may ask about content:
- What do you want to present?
When you know who you want to talk to, the next step is knowing what to say. You might have a mountain of paperwork, facts and diagrams you want to show your audience, but will they be interested in it? A bunch of excel charts on social media tile probably won’t get the results you want. Once we know the main aim, we can sift through the information and showcase what will actually resonate with your audience. If needed, we can suggest a better way to present your data.
- What does this mean?
This question pops up a lot when we go through client content. If we don’t understand it, there is a high chance your audience won’t either. Reduce your jargon, buzz words and complex diagrams to get everyone on the same page. Keeping concepts simple will garner a better result.
- What do you want your audience to do?
Do you have a CTA? Do you want people to go to a website or call you directly? What details do we need to put into this creative piece? This is a common after-thought for many that we will always chase up. After all, if we’re creating a piece of your business’ marketing or sales collateral, why wouldn’t you give your audience a way to get in touch with you?
- What are your key messages, themes or points?
Yes, it may be very important to you and your business. But is it necessary for your audience to know? Nobody wants to know where the wheat for the bread used for your Bunning’s snag was grown. They just want to eat a delicious, two dollar sausage sizzle outside of the hardware store. So take a step back and really think about what the top five things they need to know and will want to engage with.
Unisys presented Persuaders with a massive, double-sided A4 print chock full of heavy text, and trusted our team to break down the information and build an eight page, A5 brochure following a narrative framework. It was designed to appeal to the success of using their products. The result was much more appealing, memorable and easy to understand: Check it out here.
With limited time, a block of words may put you off reading a brochure. But with quick dot-points, simple icons and eye catching characters, it’s a breeze to skim quickly.
So what do creatives really want in a brief?
We’ve laid it all out for you here. Save it, print it, frame it on your desk.
Are you a ‘Format Liker’ or an ‘Information Gatherer?
Yes it’s a silly question, but it may be worth figuring it out so you can produce better content.
Remember, if you’re a:
#1 Format Liker – make sure you have the right content!
#2 Information Gatherer – make sure you have the right format!
And if you’re struggling, check out our other blogs for more helpful tips or just give us a call and we’ll talk you through it.