brand brief

    Another Use for A Brand Brief.


    I have a client with a very successful technology company. His client list is a Who’s Who of other tech companies, the likes of which anyone would be proud.  When it comes to recruiting top talent, he competes with those same companies — even though the big boys are house hold names and he has a small firm. He often wins those recruitment competitions.

    I love this company. They do so many things right. They’re growing in head count. They’re giving back to the category by sharing IP. They are working hard to be inclusive in what is typically a homogenous technology landscape. And they incentivize women to enter the business through generous programs, while not paying lip service to equality.   

    As part of the welcome packet, all new employees receive the What’s The Idea? brand brief.  Mark Pollard has said many times “Strategy is your words” and this client wants employees to understand why they do what they do. The brand brief is the backstory that culminates in the “organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”  It guides employees throughout their daily rigors. And behaviors. And deeds.

    You may call it culture. You may call it ethos. I call it brand strategy.






    Here’s a question you might hear from a financial company in a nightly news TV ad: “What are you saving for?”  More likely than not the copy will answer the question with something about hopes and dreams. 

    Hopes and dreams. Hopes and dreams.

    Advertising is filled with copy about intangibles. The most common words used in advertising today are words about intangibles. Touchy feelie brand planners care about emotions. They hunt them down. Happiness. Satisfaction. Healing.  And therein lies the problem with many brand briefs. Briefs a card-carrying existentialist would pooh-pooh.

    The best brand plans are built upon tangibles. Proofs.

    When I tell a client they are getting brand strategy comprising “One claim and three proof planks,” they know what they’re buying. When some brand planners promise clients, a “voice,” “a personality” or “brand truth,” clients often scratch their heads.

    Be tangible.



    How To Use a Brand Brief.


    If you are doing a marketing video in which you interview customers, let the customers read the brief before the camera rolls. It will help them frame the points you need. Otherwise, they’ll default to their own narrative.

    If you are asking a freelance writer to write a brochure. Give them the brief. It will create context for the writing and story.

    If decorating the office, give the designer the brief. It will guide decisions that support your business goals — not the designer’s portfolio.

    If are tired of your homepage. Give the web designer the brief on the first day.

    The brand brief is the most important tool a marketing company has. I know a CEO who shares the brand brief with every new employee.

    There are a hundred uses for a brand brief. Use it every day. Plants need water.