Brief – is it necessary or not!?

What is a brief? What tasks does it help to solve and how to compose it correctly? If you interact with people, give instructions, or do assignments yourself, then you are at the address, come in, sit down! Regardless of the field of activity, if you entrust tasks to people, then you probably faced situations where the result did not meet expectations? Why did they not do what I thought? Here are the rascals! Or maybe it’s in you? Maybe there is a small fraction of the probability that the task was posed, let’s say so “weakly”? Congratulations, if you understand this, then it’s one step to fix it and one more step to success, that is, to the brief!

What is a brief ?

Brief (brief translated from English – resume, instruction, summary) – this is a short written form of an agreement between the customer and the contractor, which sets out the main obligations and tasks of the future project.

To simplify the matter a bit, the brief is an instrument for the correct setting of tasks, in which both sides of the cooperation get the desired result. In fact, this is a list of questions that your customer must answer. You form questions and send your future “master of tasks”. Answers to them allow you to get all the necessary information for the implementation of the project.

What is the strength of the brief ?

Let’s see what problems the brief solves. Here are 7 reasons why you should definitely use a brief and how it helps a copywriter work:

  • helps to decompose the task into understandable parts;
  • introduces all participants into the context;
  • pulls out key information for the implementation of the task;
  • saves time;
  • cuts off non-target customers (those who explain the task on the fingers “do not like briefs);
  • synchronizes the expectations of the customer and the contractor;
  • defines key metrics.

The main minus of the brief is the time. On the part of the contractor, this is the time to create the brief itself, and on the part of the customer, this is its filling. But, all this time pays off on the very first project, when you take the practice to work only through a completed brief and thereby simplify the life of both yourself and future clients.

What are the briefs and what are their differences ?

Initially, the brief appeared in the field of the advertising business, so its first types somehow revolve around advertising:

  • To launch advertising campaigns – media brief;
  • To create promotional materials (Internet, audio, video, texts, etc.) – a creative brief;
  • For marketing research – an expert brief.

A little later, the practice of working with briefs migrated to other areas, creation briefs began to appear:

  • sites;
  • mobile applications;
  • complex integration systems;
  • and all that’s possible.

Conceptually, thinking people in different fields began to realize that a set of questions for relatively standard tasks can save a tremendous amount of time and do better work. It is no longer necessary to clarify a hundred times what the client wants, just send a list of questions prepared in advance. Ultimately, the tool became universal.

How to make an effective brief for a client ?

Creating a brief is a responsible matter. In this document, you need to add all the clarifying questions that will be needed to study the client’s business. There should not be too many of them and vice versa. The optimal number of points is about 10, but if it comes to ordering a complex service, then there may be more sections. As we found out above, the main task of the brief is to extract important information from the customer. Information that will allow you to complete the task efficiently and on time, so pay due attention to this list of issues.

A good brief should include the following questions:

  • task description: describe the task / project;
  • desired result: how do you see the final result of the project?
  • Can you attach sketches or examples of similar work?
  • Deadlines: how much time is allotted to complete the task? (deadlines);
  • Target audience: for whom is the task / project intended? Who will use the product ?;
  • Budget: what is the budget for an advertising campaign / project ?;
  • Metrics: how will we measure the results?;
  • Which project indicators are considered successful and which are not ?;
  • Additional information: your additional wishes for the task.

Also in general order, such a questionnaire can help you find out:

  • Company name, its advantages and its competitors;
  • About the product, services, their characteristics and features;
  • Portrait of potential customers and their needs;
  • Availability of promotions, discounts, special offers;
  • SEO requirements (volume, writing style, etc.).

Brief Examples

I offer you some examples of briefs so that you can rely on them when creating your own:

In what format should I make a brief ?

Do not forget that the brief is a tool for collecting the necessary information, but this tool should be convenient for your customer. In addition, he represents you as a professional in his field. Therefore, a well-composed brief packed in a convenient format is another way to show your best side.

You can store a brief:

  • in a separate doc. or excel file (we just send it to the client by mail);
  • in a cloud file or document storage like Google Docs (the most convenient way, in my opinion);
  • post on your own site in the form of a form to fill out;
  • in print (for old school customers, impresses), etc..

Brief and Technical Task!?

Having studied a number of materials about the differences between the brief and TT (Technical Task), I came to the conclusion that it all comes down to the fact that the brief is a more general and vague idea of the customer about a specific task. While the terms of reference, this is an accurate instruction.

TT is used for more complex and complex projects. The case when the customer has a clear understanding of what should be in the end, down to prototypes, processes and other details. In my opinion, a brief can be both the basis for the future TK, and a separate task setting tool.


As we discussed above, the brief, this is the basis for setting goals. It can be adapted to any type of activity and allows you to more effectively organize the process of interaction between people. Try to compose your brief for your own repetitive tasks, which take a lot of time to figure out the details, and then measure the result. I bet it will live up to your expectations.