Storytelling and the creative brief

Telling brand stories is what we do. Our clients turn to advertising professionals like us to translate the details of a brand, its attributes and advantages, into a compelling narrative that ultimately commands the loyalty of the consuming public. We, the builders of brands, tell stories. If we do it well, everyone wins.

The creative brief is part of the infrastructure that no one but us sees. It's what comes before the award-winning and, we hope, sales-increasing communications we create get created.

I came across something that I think can help brief writers do their job. It's a Native American proverb that crystalizes not just what we do, but what a well-written brief is meant to inspire in us. Perhaps you've heard it:

Tell me a fact and I will learn. Tell me a truth and I will believe. But tell me a story and it will live forever in my heart.

Funny but I think we have a lot to learn from the original inhabitants of America. I'm pretty sure they weren't talking about the next great ad campaign for Kia when one of their wise men uttered that phrase, but lucky us that we're the beneficiaries.

When you're preparing to write your next creative brief, it might help you to think about how the details you fill in can assist the creative team to tell a compelling story.

And what comprises a great story? It helps to have a hero. It helps when the hero is real and relevant and believable.  It helps when the circumstances in which the hero functions are...

Well, you get the idea. You've watched plenty of sit coms, cop shows, horror movies...you know what holds you riveted to the unfolding drama.

That's what you need to include in your creative brief.

Not just bullet points and facts.

Real stuff. With flesh and blood and sinew.

You think that's asking too much of a single document? When the results could mean the difference between an also-ran idea and something big?

Yeah, well ask your client what she thinks.