A Brief Encounter*

(*Or how to not get your knickers in a knot.)

Words on a Page

Filling out briefs isn’t always sexy. Clients can be reluctant to get their gear off when we first work together.

“Just write me something good,” I’ve been told when I asked someone to kick off a project with a brief.

Well, I could just toddle off and write something good(ish). But for a bespoke wordsmith, it’s not that simple.

If I’m going to tailor and craft words I have to take the time to understand your business and you.

That means picking your brain with critical questions and a little more conversation.

Sometimes my prompts challenge clients to figure out what they’re really about. But I love the clarity of purpose we all gain from the process.

It helps me to deliver the right words on a page. But there is also operational value for a client that comes from reflecting on the business and thinking about how it is distinctive.

So, the brief is an essential undergarment. It's the first part of telling your story and touting your wares.

Remember how your nana told you not to get caught out in an accident wearing no undies? Well that principle applies here too.

I once retreated from the brief process and got bitten on the bum. The client didn’t recognise the value in doing the necessary work at the outset – and so the project went off the rails because there was no reference point.

So even if you’re hiring me because you don’t have time to write, try not to view the brief as an imposition or a waste of time. Welcome it as a sign of professionalism and a quality tool.

My advice is that any decent liaison with a creative industries person - a writer, graphic designer or photographer – should involve a brief the first time you do it.    

Once I’ve worked with a client we’ve developed a rapport. I’ve also grasped a good understanding of their business and their approach – so written briefs won’t be necessary for every encounter.

But it can always help to clarify ideas and outline expectations. Briefs are also handy resources to refer back to and resolve any concerns.