Tips for briefing creative
Creativity in any medium will always involve personal or subjective judgement, and radio is no different. The aim of these tips and hints is to help you think through your own views about creative work which you are commissioning or assessing.
These briefing tips are designed to help you put together a creative brief that will provide your radio writers with guidance and structure within which to develop more effective radio ideas.
Firstly, why is radio being used?
Radio is a highly flexible medium, which means it is often asked to perform challenging tasks. It CAN carry detailed information, it CAN be booked relatively late, and it CAN be produced at short notice and at low cost but these tend to work against high quality creativity. Advertisers have to take account of this and realise that creative work can easily get compromised.
Rule number one: keep it simple
Advertising in any medium is always more effective when it focuses on a simple message. But with radio this is not optional, it is essential, because it's not possible to include extra information in the background or in small print.
Beware the "misleading proposition"
Radio uses words, so it invites verbal wit. If your advertising brief says something like “our prices will take your breath away” you are likely to get creative proposals back which focus on breathing - people not breathing, holding their breath, turning purple… It is very rare for such ads to leave an impression about your prices. So be straightforward about your message; this will help the writers to find the best expression of it.
Think about "desired response"
Don't focus the writer on what the brand is saying to the listeners. Focus instead on how we want the listeners to react what do we want them to know, think or feel having heard the campaign? Remember, the radio may only be one part of the multi-media mix what specific response is desired for the radio component?
Brand tone/"How your brand comes across"
Radio leaves strong personal impressions, and you should clarify in the brief the kind of impression you want your brand to leave. But make sure this doesn't turn into a bland mission statement (all brands want to be seen as authoritative, contemporary and innovative).
Remember the way radio uniquely makes impressions, as evoked in this piece of wisdom “Brands are like people at parties they make themselves look gorgeous because they want to attract your attention. With radio, your brand is addressing the blind guest at the party”. It’s all about how you come across, not how you look.
Including websites etc
The brief needs to be clear about priorities. If the ad is thirty seconds long, do we want to spend those thirty seconds getting people to remember the web address or getting them interested in the proposition? It's usually the latter, and these days consumers will know where to find brands on the web.Remember that radio works well as an indirect response medium, driving response through other channels such as press or door-drops.
The briefing meeting
Once the brief is written, always try to talk it through with the writers: this will help them to understand your needs as an advertiser, and to take the brief seriously. And ask for the writers who are enthusiastic about radio: not all are.
Click here for Briefing Form Template