When you’re working with anyone on a project, it’s important to explain what you hope to achieve and what you want the end deliverable to look like. This is especially true if you work with a marketing partner.
Just like anything else, when you take time to set up something right, it has the highest chance of success. An input document and creative brief are often used to clarify what you want created. A comprehensive document sets the stage for what you will receive in return.
A strong input doc is rooted in three basic principles:
- Clear about what is needed
- Information necessary to complete the task
- Inspiration - like examples of what others have done that you like
Let’s dig in.
When you’re explaining the project, you’ll want to be as clear and succinct as possible. List all of the details starting with goals and objectives, then be specific and include anything you think your partner will need to know to complete the work. Also, open up the discussion for questions to further clarify expectations.
Your input document should include all of the information that is of utmost importance. Things like:
- What is the problem you’re looking to improve?
- Who is the target audience?
- What tone and type of imagery should be used (or not used)?
- What message and data points should be addressed?
- How will the message be communicated (a.k.a channels)?
- What action should people take after seeing the message?
- What are the key due dates?
- What’s the budget? Even if you don't have a set budget, provide an acceptable range so your partner can help protect your budget.
Sure, it’s a lot to think about, but these answers will help ensure that the project goes smoothly.
A good input doc is nice but a great one goes above and beyond by inspiring the production of exceptional work. If you have great ideas, share them in a creative brief. If you’ve seen a similar ad that you love, send it over. Is there a quote or image that illustrates the feeling you’re trying to convey? Let ‘em have it. By injecting inspiration and providing an example of what you like (or don’t like), you’ll see better results.
A strong input document can lead to better work and — just as importantly — save time and money. Don't have one already, check out this Project Brief for an example.