Ever feel a little frustrated with your creatives? Like maybe you weren’t quite understood, or didn’t get what you asked for? Ever want more from your teams; more big thinking, out-of-the-box ideas, cool concepts? Ever want more for your teams; recognition for groundbreaking work, an over-joyed client, well-deserved awards?

If you’re not getting enough breakout, kick-ass, mind-blowing, game-changing ideas, the first thing you should look at is your brief. And if you are getting great work from a creative team, then take a second look as well, because that very team might be capable of a hell of a lot more.

I’m not going to tell you how to write a great brief. There are literally hundreds of articles about it. Here are a few good ones:

http://blog.hubspot.com/agency/create-compelling-creative-brief

http://www.graphics.com/article-old/what-does-inspired-creative-brief-look

But I will tell you, is why it’s important. The brief is the foundation upon which every idea is built. If your foundation’s got cracks and holes, don’t expect even the coolest, most innovatively designed house to stand very long on it.

With a great brief, comes great responsibility for the creative team to rise to the challenge. The brief is the all-spark, giving life to bigger, broader applications. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret; Creatives love a good challenge. They will toil with themselves to do better without you ever having to. It’s our nature. We’re not satisfied until perfection is achieved. One of the greatest missed opportunities that I see every day in this industry is the account people who don’t understand or use that to inspire better work. The higher you set the bar, the further we will reach.

With a great brief, comes great responsibility for the account team to do their due diligence, and be prepared to inspire. Creatives want the bar set high. But you can’t set it arbitrarily, or at the last minute. You must provide the fodder and inspiration for great thinking. And you must distill the research to paint a clear picture of the audience (including where they are – very important for shaping ideas on how to get to them!!), insight and challenge. A challenge without the solid understanding around the other two is shallow and meaningless. Timing is also a vital component. Give the team time to evolve the ideas and collaborate with them to push the work further.

In 1915, coke initiated the design of a new bottle. The brief;

Design a bottle so distinct that you would recognize if by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground.

Genius. This simple challenge is loaded with juicy subtext and insights. The bottle was to be the brand ambassador, so the design must be unique enough to protect it from copycat competition. It must be recognizable by the customer, simply by touch, and even when discarded or broken. We all know what came of it.  The iconic green glass and contour fluted shape has been the unmistakable mark of the Coca-cola brand for over 100 years. The plastic bottles today still mimic the silhouette. But the design never would have been conceived had the brief not laid such an inspirational challenge.

The next time you’re looking for something amazing, start by looking at your ask. Does the time and thought you put into it reflect the level of work you desire from it? Are you inspired? If you’re not inspired your team won’t be. So find an insight, drum up some passion, dig into the challenge, and give yourself and your team something to believe in. They won’t rise to the challenge if you haven’t first.

Feature image ©Coca-Cola Company. Source: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/the-story-of-the-coca-cola-bottle/