The second area that your advertising brief should cover is the link back to the overall business and marketing goals and objectives. Your business goal sets the direction for what you are trying to achieve – drive sales, launch a new product, increase market share and so on. While your marketing objective and growth target define “how” you expect to do that. And how performance will be measured.
This growth target should follow the SMART model. This is where it is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.
The marketing objective is usually related to one of or more of the following.
Brand choice funnel
Often the advertising or communication objective focusses on moving consumers from one part of the brand choice funnel to another. So for example, you objective might be to raise the level of brand awareness. Or the number of consumers who will consider or try the product.
Brand equity measures
Sometimes, the advertising objective might be to shift the target audience’s perception of the brand. In cases like this, there will usually be a specific value, style or performance statement which the brand wants to improve. For example, to raise perception of the brand as a high quality or popular product. Or to change perception about the brand’s reliability or durability.
Where the advertising brief is centred on a new or innovative project, the measures might be slightly different again. Here, as we covered in our guide to marketing innovation, the project may be related to new products that meet unmet needs for existing customers. Or it could be to extend existing products to new customer groups. These might have similar measures to those in the brand choice funnel or brand equity. But the content will likely be quite different.
In the communications section of the brief, you should cover the communication challenge, the communication imperative, the communication objective and the consumer insight.
The communication challenge sets the scene and context for the brief. It should cover key relevant facts as they relate to consumers, competitors or the wider category.
For example, have you noticed any trends in consumer attitudes and behaviours? Have these trends created an opportunity, or an issue for your brand? Maybe consumers expectations of quality and value, level of service or sustainability have changed? What do you need to do to adapt to those new circumstances?
Has a competitor changed their marketing approach and you need to respond to it? Maybe it’s a new product launch, or a different message or a different price point? Bear in mind, those consumers you target will also be exposed to the communications from your competitors.
Finally, maybe there has there been a change in the way that products and services are delivered in your category? Does this mean you need to change how you communicate with your consumers?
Consider for example, how some brands responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brands which may have been used to dealing with consumers face to face had to change the way they interacted with those consumers to maintain social distancing.
While the communication challenge allows you to identify a number of different factors which give context, the communication imperative asks you to identify the most important. As we cover in our guide on how to evaluate advertising, you only have the consumer’s attention for a limited amount of time. When you focus on one core message, this tends to be more impactful than multiple messages. This part of the brief helps you focus on what that most important element is.
The communication objective then is the quantifiable measure that you will use on the advertising specifically. It may be the same as the overall marketing objective. Or it may be more specific to the communication itself. So for example, the number of views, clicks, likes or impressions might be the overall communication objective.
You should have identified an insight when you created your brand identity. It’s the deep underlying insight about your target audience that will help the marketing agencies to generate creative ideas. When you can tap into a strong insight about your target audience, it will make your advertising more relevant and impactful because consumers will ‘recognise’ the insight as something they think, feel or do.