You want to be understood? Start with a brief

Whether we are a client with a specific project or an internal team that must lead the project of an important customer, good communication is essential. It will ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal and that we all achieve the same mandate.

The problem is that often this common goal and this mandate are not clear for everyone involved in the project. This is when we remember that starting off with a client brief might have been a good idea.

Have you ever been to IKEA? The answer is certainly yes. Have you ever wondered why we always leave that huge blue building with a bunch of stuff we didn’t really need, and didn’t plan to buy at all?

Our problem? We didn’t start our visit with a precise explanation of our goal.
We did not reiterate to our beautiful partner the importance of leaving IKEA with a basket for our dirty clothes and nothing else. That’s why we end up with three bowls, twelve fake plants, a light, a table for the office we plan to assemble in a few days, and sofa that is a little firm but that compensates with bright colors, and that will be delivered to us later this week.

There is nothing wrong with having all the items listed above, but we still must admit that we failed to achieve our initial goal.

Going back to the agency and the importance of understanding the client’s needs, it all starts with the client brief.

It’s a game plan that expresses in specific terms that all parties involved can understand the objectives of the client and the project. A good client brief will include the following:

What the project must deliver

This is a direct description of what the customer wants. Be clear while leaving room for the contribution of ideas from the creative team. For example, we will deliver an advertisement putting forward a new product for a section in a newspaper.


It is important to understand the context of the project. You have to understand why we are doing this project and why the customer wishes to carry out this project. This is when one inquires with the client if a project of this kind has already been done and what would be areas for improvement, and if the client has specific information about the project which could be useful to team that will execute it.

Does the customer already made an advertisement in the newspaper? Did it deliver the message the client wanted and overall, was it successful?

The objective

You have to understand the client’s objective to the project. For example, if we create a new marketing tool, it must accurately describe our client’s clients and their response in relation to this tool.

Do you wish to evoke a response among customers of our client? Change customer perceptions in relation to our client? What exactly do we want to accomplish with this advertisement in the newspaper?

The target audience

We are moving away from our client here and towards his or her customers. Who are the customers of our client? How do they want to find information and how do they want the message to be delivered to them?

Once all of these items have been included in the brief, the team will have a much better idea of where to go with the project, but also how to get it going and underway, as well.