It's counter-intuitive, and neither a core onboarding skill, leadership skill, nor something you'd normally cover during executive training, but creative briefs are an extraordinarily effective way to free creative people to create.  Similarly, clear strategies free people to act.  The reason is that creative briefs and strategies set boundaries so people can focus inside the boundaries and ignore things outside the boundaries.  Tell me where to play, what matters, how to win, how to connect, and what impact is required so I can focus on making it happen.

We had a very simple creative brief as one of the appendices in the first edition of "The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan".  Here's an updated, expanded version of that

Project Description

  • Summary of main points (Opportunity, Approach, Output, Timing/Logistics)

Objective/Desired Response

  • Overall objective for the organization, business, marketing
  • This project's role in moving the target audience through AIDA (Aware – Interested – Desire – Action)


  • Things to keep in mind about about the target and, especially, their cultural context that will allow for the achievement of the obective
  • Projects-specific things to keep in mind that allow for achievement of the objective

Competitive Context

  • Things to keep in mind about competitors that inform your strategic choices


Mandatory Executional Elements

  • Components: visuals, selling idea, look, voice, communication points, information
  • Output
  • Media
  • Channels


  • Results (per above)
  • Guidelines re decision making
  • Resources: people, budget, operational
  • Accountabilities: milestones?  timing?
  • Consequences: leveraging the win

Well worth using.

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