Importance of a Brief
When developing a media product, the most useful asset is a detailed brief. This will ensure that all those involved in the project have the same understanding about the client requirements. By providing a brief, the client is given the chance to specify exactly what they want as well as giving those creating the product a chance to speak to the client and discuss initial ideas.
By developing a brief, you can also be supplied information about the target audience any specific to be achieved through this product as well as a set budget.
If when trying to create a product you don’t have a brief, there can be confusion between what the client wants and what you think they want, what type of budget they have as well as creating a product that doesn’t appeal to their target audience. Not having a brief can cause a range of issues to arise.
Different Types of Briefs:
There are 8 different types of briefs to choose from that all have their advantages as well as disadvantages.
A legally binding document which is created that states the expectations of the client, the amount of payment and duties that will be required. This gives the employer a clear idea of what the client wants and what is to be achieved. However, this may include a very heavy workload which specifically in advertising when written work may be desired as opposed to graphic designs can hinder creativity.
A brief which includes relevant detailed information which is straightforward about what the client wants at the end of the project, however it isn’t always legally binding. This is a clear concise document as it refrains from any extended legal terms and as it isn’t legally binding, the employer can express their opinions freely. However there can be disagreements with the terms of each other’s decisions and opinions.
This is less professional as it’s communicated verbally rather than written, so therefore there is no evidence of the brief and in no way is legally binding. There is no real guideline and so allows for a lot of creativity from the employer however the expectations of the client way not comply with the employer’s ethos, this can lead to disagreements in which the client will find another party to fulfil their brief.
The client and employee will come to a specific agreement after discussing the brief, both parties must agree upon the brief for this to work. The client and the employer’s ideas come together and merge into one which helps to create a brief that is suitable and will be less likely to quarrel over the terms of the legal agreement, however there is the risk that due to differing ideas the employer may lose work if they cannot negotiate with the client.
A large corporation will employ an independent production company to create their product, in some cases, on top of being paid commission, the company could receive a fraction of the overall profits. However, there is the chance that the corporation may develop a sense of corporate greed therefore not giving the independent company enough credit, or sufficient pay, for their work. An example of a commissioning brief is the BBC Northern Ireland. They commission production companies to create programmes that are to be shown on their channels. They are shown a pilot of the programme and a proposal as to why they should use this product.
A company will place an advertisement stating that they need a media product to be produced, a production company will then create a brief, budget as well as a proposal which will be then pitched to the client. There will be a lot of competition for this brief, so the employer will be dedicated to this project to try and win the contract however it also makes it difficult to gain work as many people will be wanting the same job.
Two or more production companies will be employed by the same client to work upon a set brief by a set deadline. By using this brief, more ideas will be circulated within the team as there are more people trying to develop their own idea, however there may be individuals who may disagree with an idea which will hinder the project and may lead to its downfall.
Principles of a brief:
To have a good brief that works and ensures that work is done to a high standard for the client there are five fundamental principles that must be included.
Write it down-
Having the brief written down, as well as any answers to any questions that you ask, ensures that you don’t waste time, energy or money on an idea that won’t fit your clients need. This brief should have the approval of all key decision makers before you start to produce your product.
Clear and Simple-
Ensure that the brief is a brief and not pages and pages of writing that lead to confusion. Keep it clear and simple and to the point, disregard any information that isn’t needed specifically for the product, relevance and context are more effective than a page of statistics and figures.
Clearly defined objectives-
Ensure that the client’s objectives and what they want to achieve are defined, use clear concrete business objectives and ensure that vague terms such as ‘improve brand image’ are avoided. Objectives need to be focused and measurable else success criteria cannot be created to measure the success of the product.
Get a Budget-
Before starting to produce anything, make sure that you have a budget from your client. This ensures that you don’t overspend when creating a product and that the client will be able to afford your design as well as all it entails,
Set a Deadline-
A deadline is imperative to make sure that you get your product developed in time for your client, and keep a schedule to stay on track with the project. This will ensure that the product will be developed to a high standard within a given amount of time as well as ensuring that the client gets the product when they will need it most.
Elements of a Brief:
Below are the basic elements that make up the skeleton of a brief:
The first is your Goals, this is why you’re doing what you’re doing, changing a brand image, promoting your brand, to bring in a wider audience. This is needed so that employers know what it is that they are creating their product for.
Secondly is Target Audience, the people that you are trying to reach through the final product. You will need to know specifically who your product is being designed for. Another is your Main Take-Away’s, these are the key points that you need to burn into peoples brains, the most important points that they need to know. Next is Support Points, secondary points that will support your main points, these will have more information which is still relevant but in more detail. Tone of Voice within your brief is also important, this will state the tone of your project, and will it be all facts, a straightforward business-like manner towards the project. Or will the tone be more towards the fun side of the spectrum, making the project and the product enjoyable for the employers, the client and the consumer. Lastly is Executional Notes. This includes the formal, guidelines, budget and deadline for the project.
Changes to the Brief:
There are many reasons that a brief could change, such as the tastes of the company that you are creating a product for have changed. Another reason is that the purpose of the product has changed and so now needs to be altered for its new purpose. A brief may also change because more information has been provided and so must be added to the brief accordingly, to ensure that everyone has the same information which may be seen as vital to the project.
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