Creative brief templates

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

Creative briefs are especially useful if you are working with an external creative agency, but they are helpful tools for internal teams too. These documents serve as a touchstone, keeping everyone on brand, on message, and on track so you can successfully deliver against your marketing goals.

The free templates provided here make it easy to write a succinct and compelling creative brief. Choose from a wide range of examples and download at no cost. But if you want to set marketing goals, define creative briefs, and link them directly to your work using a web-based approach, try Aha! free for 30 days. Marketing teams use Aha! to put goals first, develop on-point creative, and automate workflows.

If your team is not ready to get started with an Aha! account, then you can choose from the templates below.

Why is a creative brief important?

Creative briefs are particularly useful if you are working with marketing consultants or advertising agencies. Usually built by an account manager in close partnership with the client, creative briefs facilitate two fundamental things at a campaign kick-off.

Creative briefs promote communication and agreement between clients and agencies. For the client, a clear creative brief demonstrates that the agency or consultant understands their expectations, including time constraints and budget. For the agency, they are able to gain client buy-in for the creative vision of a campaign before substantial time and resources are invested.

But creative briefs are also useful for kicking off internal marketing projects, particularly for cross-team efforts. For example, teams may use a creative brief to set the foundation for a blog redesign. Starting with a creative brief helps everyone stay focused on what they need to deliver. It is clear what is not in scope — in our example, redesigning other sections of the website. Aligning in this way reduces unnecessary conflict and wasted time, driving teams to deliver better results.

Regardless of the audience, your creative brief should:

  • Align the team around clear goals

  • Bring consistency and structure to the creative process

  • Document key details the team must know to work efficiently

  • Define the creative elements of your program or campaign

  • Center the team on what exactly needs to be delivered

What components should be included in a creative brief?

Writing a creative brief requires deep understanding of the strategic goals of the business, where the product or service sits in the market, what the customer’s challenges are, as well as any tactical constraints the team is facing. The components of a creative brief aid you in articulating this understanding. Here are nine essential elements included in a creative brief template:

  • Objective: What will the project work to achieve?

  • Key details: What is the project timeline? How much budget is allocated?

  • Background: Why are we choosing to solve this problem now?

  • Audience: Who are we trying to reach with this campaign?

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

  • Key messages: What is the key idea to be remembered?

  • Brand voice: What characteristics define the brand?

  • Mandatory inclusions: What elements (brand logos, taglines, etc.) must be included?

  • Deliverables: What are the deliverables for this campaign (videos, billboards, online ads, etc.)?

What are the types of creative briefs?

This guide includes six creative brief templates. Choose the ones that best suit the type of marketing program or campaign you are planning. You can download each one for free and customize it to fit your specific needs.

Aha! creative brief template
The Aha! creative brief provides one of the most complete templates available. It is based on our team's more than 20 years of experience delivering breakthrough marketing programs and campaigns. It can be easily adapted to a wide range of projects — whether you are working on a large campaign or a single video.

Campaign creative brief
The creative brief template below is useful for planning a marketing campaign. For agencies or consultants, this could be a creative treatment for an advertisement, new logo, or tagline. For internal teams, lead generation or email promotion campaign kick-offs are aided by creative briefs. Subsequent campaign briefs are then used every time that concept needs a new treatment or adaptation. Each brief inspires the team to create impactful concepts.

Client creative brief
This client creative brief is perfect for marketing agencies to use internally. An account manager can use it 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 an outstanding service.

Content creative brief
A content creative brief is used to provide writers and designers with the information they need to successfully produce a piece of content. They are typically used with freelance writers or for larger pieces like an ebook, whitepaper, or infographic — as opposed to routine content work like blog posts. It is important that the brief contains details like any research, data, or examples that could further the writers' understanding of the topic more completely, as well as the point of view that the pieces should convey.

Design creative brief
This template is ideal for working with graphic design professionals. Design creative briefs set design teams up for success by ensuring designers understand the brand and the target customer as well as elements like tone, look and feel, and desired reaction. A detailed and thorough design creative brief will lead to successful deliverables — whether the design work is for a new landing page, a billboard, or redesigned client logo.

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 for a short digital advertisement or a full TV commercial spot. 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.

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