How do you know when you've written an inspired creative brief?

Since I began writing this blog, I've focused on as many of the elements I can think of that go into writing an inspired creative brief. But I've discovered that, to my chagrin, I haven't answered perhaps the most critical question facing any brief writer:

"How do I know my brief will inspire the creatives?"

Fair question.

So here's something I found that will help you know when your brief is doing its job. And here is also where I remind you to collaborate with your creative team! Don't slave over your brief and then hand it over. Talk to them before you put fingers to keyboard. Get a dialog going.

Creatives don't do creative solo. They pair up. This is a good concept to steal for brief writers!

I got this from a friend of a friend. It was written by the folks at Leo Burnett in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. And it's called the 7+ Brief Standard. It looks like this:

HEAVEN 10. This is a real opportunity to make the brand famous. 9. I can see brilliant advertising coming from it. 8. I can see it will breakthrough in the category.

THE GOOD LIFE ON EARTH 7. It's very inspiring — I want to work on it. 6. "I get an idea quickly from it." 5. It's focused and single minded.

HELL 4. It's unfocused. 3. It's a client's wish list. "Just too much stuff." 2. I have difficulty understanding it. 1. "I do not want to work on it at all."

So, when you read this David-Letterman-like top 10 list of criteria for an inspired creative brief, who's speaking?

Answer: Creatives. The people who'd be reading your brief.

Why is the list called 7+? Because anything less than a 7 won't earn a ranking of inspired.

If you want to know, I mean really know, if your brief is inspired, use this list as your standard. If you're collaborating with your creative team, gauge their reaction to your draft brief. Better yet, show them this list and get them to rank your brief. Believe me, they won't hesitate to give you a critique.

But isn't that what you want?

After all, once they've given you something above a 7, then it's their turn to deliver.

Which should be no sweat. Because you've just inspired them.