Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Developing an advertising campaign by using a creative brief

Developing an advertising campaign by using a creative brief

Advertising does not come cheaply, so it is important your group's hard earned funds are spent on the most effective campaign possible.
To ensure this you have the best chance of success should take time to prepare and outline an advertising campaign.

Developing an advertising campaign might sound daunting - particularly for a smaller group or not-for-profit - but it needn't be.

Working through a relatively short creative brief can help your group define your advertising aims and detail how your campaign will achieve them.

Gathering your team

Before your group starts preparing a creative brief, it needs to gather together a group of people to do the job.

Your group might be large enough (or lucky enough) to have someone in advertising or marketing who can do the job.

If your group doesn't have that luxury, you can still put together an effective creative brief.

You only need one or two people to compile a brief.  You could involve your communications person, group secretary or your chair/president in the process.

When gathering your team, think about including people who are most aware of your group's advertising/promotional needs, as well as those who have awareness of your group's budgetary situation, image or "brand" and history in past advertising efforts.

Doing the brief in-house and then developing an advertising campaign from it can save your group paying for an ad agency or advertising consultant.

Compiling your brief

Putting together a creative brief to guide your advertising campaign is a relatively easy process and is a vital step towards making that campaign a success.

A brief is like a set of plans for a building project - if they aren't well thought out, or aren't followed, there's a high probability that the building will fall apart.

Creativity is subjective, so if you're unclear about what you want from your campaign you risk having a muddled advertising effort that does nothing for your group.

Writing a brief forces you clarify exactly what it is you want from your advertising campaign and saves frustrations and delays further down the line. The brief itself helps you focus in on what needs to be done.

The structure of a creative brief can vary slightly; following is a sample brief which could be used to clarify and provide a focus to an advertising campaign.
  • What is the promotion or advertising about?
    • What is the actual subject or focus of your advertising?
      • To publicise an upcoming event - Fundraiser, function or campaign
      • To promote an appeal or fundraiser
      • To promote your group in general.
    • Can you determine a theme or message to base the campaign around?
  • Why are you advertising it?
    • Linked to the first question, this looks at the action you want people to take - to donate to your appeal, attend a function, advocate on your behalf, join your group or support its causes.
  • Who are you advertising to?
    • Who is your target audience - a certain age group, demographic, geographic area; existing members, non-members, etc.
  • Background.
    • Has this been advertised in the past, if so can you draw on that experience? For example, if your last annual appeal didn't draw in as much support as you wanted, a review may have decided to advertise it in a different way this year.
    • Be aware of any relevant background to aid your group in moving forward.
  • Form/s of advertising or media to be used.
    • Knowing the purpose of your campaign and the target audience you are aiming at with your advertising, will shape the media you use.
    • Depending on your target audience some of the options can be TV, newspapers, radio, direct mail, hand-outs, newsletters or a stall at an upcoming event.
    • A combination of media can be used if a wide-ranging, integrated advertising campaign is called for and is within budget constraints.
  • Information to include.
    • The single theme or message you decided on as part of the first section of the brief can be expanded to include information and messages you want to integrate as part of your advertising campaign.
    • Also decide on other details you need to include - contact details, RSVPs for functions, raffle tickets for fundraisers, etc.
  • Information to avoid.
    • Be aware of any information, statements or items to avoid in your campaign.
    • Do not include information that is incorrect of may mislead those you are advertising to.
  • Tone of voice.
    • How is your group going to "sell" its message through the campaign?
      • Warm and friendly?
      • Funny?
      • Formal?
      • More authoritative?
    • The tone of voice you choose will influence the delivery of your campaign.
  • Budget.
    • Your group needs to know its financial limitations.  
    • You need to determine a budget for your campaign and do your best to stick to it.
    • Your budget may well decide the type of advertising media your campaign uses.
    • Your budget needs to have "margins" built in, and should be subject to review if situations change.
  • Timing/deadlines.
    • Everyone involved in the campaign needs to be aware of deadlines or timing targets for the completion of each component of the campaign

When your group has completed its creative brief it needs to be signed off by your group's chair, president or head of advertising/marketing/promotions.

Then your brief needs to be "actioned".  The group member responsible needs to either take on the task, or work with a team, to develop the campaign and get it up and running.

Through the Media & Marketing, a creative brief template is available for community groups and organisations to download and use. It can be found by following THIS LINK.

The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.