The A-Z of Experiential Marketing – B for Brief

Posted by: Line Up on March 21st, 2013 IN The A-Z of Experiential Marketing


When planning an experiential marketing campaign there are many factors that need to be considered.  Over the course of 2013 we are going to publish a series of articles on the A-Z of experiential marketing.  This time we look at B for Brief.

B for Brief

How to write a brief for an experiential marketing campaign

Drafting a brief was a far simpler process in the days when a TV or poster campaign did exactly what it said on the tin and a live event was simply something that one attended at a given time.   These days channel definition is not as straight-forward and pinpointing exactly what outputs are desired or needed can be a difficult task.  When it comes to experiential, there is a wealth of bespoke content that can be spread across various touchpoints.  So, if composing a brief sometimes leaves you with writer’s block, here are some points to bear in mind.

Why now?

Although any agency worth its salt will have done some thorough research on you, don’t assume that they will automatically know the business context for the campaign.  The more the agency understands the background to a brief, the more you’ll get back.  Identifying key issues and expanding a little on your brand’s heritage and current health can help lead to those all important audience insights that can turn a good campaign into a great campaign.

Know your audience

It sounds obvious to say that you should specify exactly who you want to talk to but it’s amazing how often we have to ask and demographics are just the starting point.  Again, any good agency should have their own thoughts on lifestyles, mindsets and behavioral traits, but it’s a good idea to establish that you are both singing from the same hymn sheet from the outset.  Media consumption, including social media habits, are  key to understanding an audience and ensuring that any planned experience lives beyond its real-time shelf life.

What is the intended result?

Success is measured on tangible results but it is essential to know what these are going to be from the outset.  Measurement needs to be factored in right from the outset whether it’s an increase in sales, data capture, employee engagement or raising consumer awareness.  Not only can we learn from statistics but they are vital when it comes to reporting back to the boardroom and securing next year’s experiential budget so make sure that you build procuring them into the process.

Mandatories and practicalities

What’s the budget?  The number of times that we have to ask and are sometimes never told.  When it comes to experiential the agency is then really left in a ‘how long is a piece of string’ situation.  Budgets don’t hamper the creative process – they help.  Failure to give a guide price when briefing agencies risks wasting your time and theirs.  You might get a range of ideas at different price points but you’ll have no ability to judge who offers the best combination of value and creativity at any one price.

Equally, let your agency know what you really can’t do without.  If you need to fit 10 cars into an environment – tell them.  If you need an event that generates that “one shot” that will make all the front pages – let them know.  We can usually build anything in, as long as we know about it.

Try to be flexible

Give enough information to get your agency thinking, dreaming up ideas and discussing solutions, but try not to be too prescriptive as to the format the final experience will take.  If the path you set an agency is too narrow you risk missing new, deeper ways to engage with your audience.

Line Up - Volvo Estoril 2010

There is no perfect way to write a brief.  In our minds, a brief should be a conversation starter and a working document, not a rule book. Set the mandatory parameters, be very clear on your business objectives and audiences, give a price and a timescale and where possible let that be realistic. Then let good agencies do what they do best – crafting bespoke, engaging and often unexpected experiences that help transform attitudes and behaviour in line with your key messages and business direction.

If you have an idea that you would like to discuss with us further then please call Rupert Cheswright on 020 8747 2200.

Want to read more of our A-Z of Experiential Marketing posts? You can now download and keep A-N as a PDF ebook.

Or select another of the posts from the series to view online:

Audience | Brief | Content | Digital | Engagement | Fun

Global | Hindsight | Insight Journey | Knowledge | Logistics

Mobile | New | Old | Product Launch | Q&A | ROI | Social Media

Target Market | User Experience | Venues | Word of Mouth | X for X Factor | Y for Youth | Z for Zeitgeist

a-zilineupebookDownload our ebook!
You can now download the first part of our A-Z of Experiential Marketing series as a ebook to keep for reference or read on the daily commute!
We are well on our way to Z, but in the meantime click here to get hold of the A-N ebook!




Cartoon credit:  The Marketoonist

Line Up

Line Up

Line Up is an award-winning, creative communications agency, headquartered in London. We create engaging live and digital brand experiences for internal and external audiences all over the world.

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