Fans of Madmen may remember an episode when Don makes a client sign a creative brief – the idea being that the brief is a form of contract that a client makes with the agency.It made me nostalgic. This was common practice when i worked for Lintas and Ogilvy in the 80s – but now you rarely see this done
I wonder whether we should bring it back?
For a decade I have been running training courses for clients on “how to brief an agency” -but the common complaint from agencies is still that they either receive either no brief or an ill thought out document with a long wish list of objectives.
In other words no decisions have been made. Decision making (this, not that objective, this, not that audience) is the essence of good strategy.
For all the warm words that are said about “how important the brief is” the truth is that the brief is no longer a valued document because no commitment has been made. The result – wasted effort, costs, poor agency client relationships
Perhaps we should considering bringing back the practice of having a signed brief
Signing a contract – like the prospect of being hanged tomorrow as Dr Johnstone once said- concentrates the mind wonderfully.