Creative brief templates

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What is a creative brief?

A creative brief captures the creative essence of marketing and advertising campaigns. It is a foundational document that establishes important details about your approach and deliverables — such as your objectives, launch date, budget, audience, and key messages. Creative briefs help internal teams, third-party consultants, or advertising agencies understand the brand voice and message you want to deliver.

Creative briefs are particularly useful for communicating with external creative or advertising agencies, but they are helpful for internal teams too. Creative briefs align creative work with business strategy — keeping everyone on-brand, on-message, and on-track so you can successfully deliver against your marketing goals.

Set marketing goals and write strategic creative briefs

A creative brief example built in Aha! software.

Writing a creative brief is a great way to kick off your next marketing campaign. In this guide, we will go over how to write your own, what to include, and provide six free creative brief templates to help you get started. Jump ahead to each individual template here:

How to write a creative brief

Writing a creative brief requires a deep understanding of your strategic goals, where your product or service fits in the market, customer needs, as well as the resources available to your team. With that in mind, here is how to write a creative brief in six steps:

  1. Name your project.
    Choose a descriptive but concise title for your marketing campaign to include in your brief. As you share your plans with stakeholders, this will serve as a shorthand for the project's focus.

  2. Refer to your marketing strategy.
    Writing creative briefs is part of the strategic planning process. Consult overall business goals and marketing objectives first to ensure your creative brief will support them.

  3. Gather the details.
    Project owners, budget, and timelines are all details to consider before writing your creative brief. You may need to consult leadership to collect this information.

  4. Write your creative brief.
    Your creative brief should include components like customer truths, key messages, brand voice, and deliverables. Use a creative brief template to capture these important elements.

  5. Review with the marketing team.
    Once your creative brief is drafted, solicit feedback from other members of the marketing team. Collaborating on a creative brief helps to ensure you have included all the right details — and builds excitement for new campaigns.

  6. Share with stakeholders.
    Whether you have prepared it for internal teams or an external agency, present your creative brief to communicate what you want to achieve. Treat your creative brief as a touchstone that everyone can refer back to as your campaign gets underway.

Creative brief components and examples

As the name suggests, creative briefs are not long or complex documents. In a page or two, you should be able to summarize your project parameters and distill your approach into key concepts. Here are the essential elements to include, questions to help you fill out each section, as well as creative brief examples:

Component

Questions to consider

Creative brief example

Title

What title will summarize this project?

Fredwin Cycling: Adventure series

Objective

What will the project work to achieve?

  • Increase app downloads

  • Attract new blog followers

  • Increase social engagement

Campaign details

What is the project timeline? How much budget is allocated?

Timing: Q2

Budget: $626K

Background

Why are we choosing to solve this problem now?

We know that cyclists are heavily influenced by their peers. Seeing how others use Fredwin Cycling to track their performance and connect with a global community of athletes is a powerful way to communicate or message.

Audience

Who are we trying to reach with this campaign?

  • Recreational road cyclists

  • Recreational mountain bikers

  • Club cyclists

  • Cycling tour groups

Customer truths

Beyond demographics or data, who is your customer and what do they want to achieve?

  • Athletes love sharing their accomplishments with others.

  • New challenges motivate athletes to push their performance.

  • It is thrilling to experience stunning scenery and ride unexplored roads.

Key messages

What are the key ideas we want to communicate to our audience?

  • Fredwin Cycling athletes go amazing places and accomplish incredible things.

  • Share the story of your adventure and inspire others.

  • Unleash your passion for cycling by exploring new routes and trails.

  • Capture your adventures with photos, videos, and captions.

  • Whatever your level of fitness, discover new places and share your experiences.

Brand voice

What characteristics define our brand?

  • Bold

  • Inspirational

  • Passionate

  • Inclusive

Mandatory inclusions

What brand elements must be included?

  • Fredwin Cycling logo and brand colors

  • Tagline

  • Product placement

Deliverables

What are the deliverables for this campaign?

  • Product videos

  • Digital advertisements

  • Email campaign

Related: What is a marketing plan?

6 creative brief templates for marketing teams

Using a creative brief template makes it easy to write a succinct and compelling overview that clearly communicates your ideas. Below are six different creative brief templates for Excel and Word. Choose the type of creative brief that best suits the marketing program or campaign you are planning.

Simple creative brief template

This is a starter creative brief — it includes all of the key components in a streamlined document. You can easily adapt this template for a wide range of marketing projects, from content marketing to social media campaigns.

Campaign creative brief template

Use this template to plan your creative approach for a marketing campaign. For example, if you are working with advertising agencies or consultants, you could outline a creative treatment for an advertisement, new logo, or tagline. For internal teams, this template can kick-off a new lead generation or email campaign. Anytime you need to create a new treatment or adaptation, write a new creative brief.

Agency creative brief template

Agency creative briefs are often used within marketing agencies. An account manager can use this template to capture what a client wants to achieve and essential details about their audience, key messages, and brand voice. This helps the agency team better understand their clients' needs so they can deliver outstanding service that fits their brand.

Content creative brief template

A content creative brief is used to provide writers and designers with the information they need to successfully produce a piece of content. This type of creative brief is typically for planning larger pieces of content like ebooks, whitepapers, or case studies — but you could use them to plan more routine content like blog posts as well. It is important to include details like research, background, and examples that can help creators understand your company's point of view on the subject.

Design creative brief

This template is helpful for working with graphic design professionals. Design creative briefs set you up for success by ensuring designers understand the brand and target customer as well as elements like tone, look and feel, and desired reaction. A detailed and thorough design creative brief will help produce high-quality design for everything from a new landing page to a billboard.

Video creative brief

Video creative briefs help production teams efficiently plan video projects. Creating new videos for a product or company is a significant investment, whether it is a short digital advertisement or a full brand video. Starting with a well-defined creative brief provides the clarity needed to produce a video that speaks to the target customer's problems in a compelling way, while staying on time and on budget.

Creative brief templates can bring structure to your marketing campaign ideas — while saving you time in the process. Try writing a creative brief for your next project to fully harness your creativity and harness ideas that will help you reach your goals. If you are ready to level up with interactive creative briefs, purpose-built product development software can connect your marketing strategy to your day-to-day. You can document goals, create calendars, and coordinate go-to-market plans — all in one place.

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Additional marketing resources

Marketing strategy guides

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