Creative briefs are used by design and advertising agencies to establish a client's vision for an artistic project. The project typically affects the development of the the company's brand or the brand of one of its products or services. Consequently, there is a dependent relationship between branding and creative briefs, where the brief drives the development of the components of the brand.
A company's brand is probably its single most important intangible asset. It is the way consumers distinguish the company's products from those of competitors. Brand recognition takes the company's products out of the realm of the generic and into the enviable domain of customer loyalty based on reputation and an established standard. There are a number of components of a company's brand, including name, logo and slogan, that are often developed in conjunction with internal or external artistic professionals whose job it is to take the vision of management and crystallize it into tangible expressions across a variety or media.
Creative briefs are tools used by artistic professionals that enable clients to specifically define their vision. It is typically a series of questions designed to require the client to put his expectations into words. A creative brief provides an artist with a direction, which ensures the result of the artist's work will be in line with the client's thinking.
The relationship between branding and creative briefs is straightforward. Creative briefs are typically used to develop all aspects of a brand. Using a brief ensures a level of consistency that transcends artistic variance. No matter how many artists work on components of the brand over time, the brief enables the company to control certain aspects of the end result. For example, the brief will typically inform a recently hired creative professional of the exact colors used in the company logo so a consistent presentation can be made with the website.
Branding and creative briefs also have a reciprocal relationship in terms of professionalism. The better the creative brief, the more likely the client is to get top-notch work. Creative briefs operate very much like road maps for projects, defining vision and expectations. A clearer map with better directions leads a company to its destination quicker and with less hassle.
There are many companies, particularly small businesses, that do not use this type of tool to drive the creative process. Hence, the relationship between branding and creative briefs is not absolute. Management can commission quality branding work on the basis of verbal instructions and general guidance. Often, a business owner is not able to article a vision or does not have a specific vision in mind. In these instances, an artist is given broad leeway to brainstorm until something catches on with the client.