Starting a new digital project is an exciting time! You might have a strong and clear vision and be raring to go. Or you might have a few vague ideas but need expert guidance to paint a clearer picture. Either way, one thing’s for sure. If the project is sizeable enough, you’re going to need to write a brief.
In this blog post, we’ll explain how to write a brief for your digital agency, and provide a free briefing template to get you started.
What is a Digital Brief and Why Does it Matter?
In the simplest terms, a digital brief is a document that tells your agency what you need. If you’re making simple changes like adding a video to your homepage, a written brief is probably overkill. But in any scenario where the work is significant and a level of consultancy is required, a digital brief will prove to be a valuable asset.
Benefits of a well-considered briefing process include:
You’ll help your agency partner to understand your ‘why’
This is particularly important if you’re working with a new agency that needs to get to know your company. Make sure you consider and explain your ‘why’ before delving into the ‘what’.
You’ll make sure your team is on the same page
If you work within a team, it’s natural that different areas in your organisation will have different goals. This could become an issue though if those goals are conflicting, with multiple people approaching the same project with different agendas. A clear brief keeps everyone aligned with the business strategy.
You’ll save time communicating with your agency
Getting your requirements down in a clear brief will save you heaps of time in the long run. It’s an easy reference point that captures and communicates your project goals. Without a written brief, you’d likely waste time in unnecessarily long meetings.
You might come up with new ideas and solutions
Rushing the briefing process could lead to missed opportunities. Take time to properly consider what you’re trying to achieve. You may find it results in new solutions that you might not have otherwise envisaged.
You’ll get a better return on your investment
Taking into account all the benefits described above, it’s a no-brainer that a clear digital brief will lead to smarter use of your budget.
How to Write a Brief
We know what a brief is and how it can benefit your business, so let’s move on to preparing to write it.
Involve relevant stakeholders
If you work within a team, writing a digital brief is rarely a one-person task. Avoid tunnel vision by making sure that you talk to stakeholders from across your organisation.
Say, for example, you’re writing a brief for redeveloping your website, with the aim of increasing sales.
For your marketing team, the most important goal might be the ability to include product reviews. But your customer service team might really value an automated chatbot.
Make sure you consider their varying needs and capture the bigger picture in your brief.
Make your objectives clear
Before writing your brief, ensure that you’ve had conversations with your team about the following:
● Why is this project important to us?
● Why are we doing this now?
● How does it fit in with our business strategy?
● Are we trying to solve an existing problem, or embrace a new opportunity? ● Who is our Project Owner? Does this person have the authority to make decisions? ● Who is our target audience? Have we identified our buyer personas? ● How much are we able to invest into this project?
● When do we need this work completed and why?
● What is important to us when choosing an agency partner?
Don’t be too solution-focused
Some project briefs can be too rigid in their assumptions about the best way to move forward. As above, it’s great to be clear about your objectives. But, it’s important to leave enough flexibility to find the right solution.
Rather than pre-empting the answers, let your agency partner do the work! Their expert knowledge could find a better way, using technologies that you’d not considered.
Be upfront about your budget
Some clients prefer to take a cautious approach and keep their cards close to their chests when it comes to ‘the budget question’.
But keeping your budget a secret isn’t likely to be helpful.
At Bravo, we like clients to be as clear as they can about their budget, as early as they can.
We want to put forward an appropriate and realistic response to your brief – one that meets your expectations within the available means. Knowing your budget allows us to do that, making an informed consultation on the best steps forward.
Be realistic about your timeline
Once you’ve got an idea about what you need, it’s normal to want to see results as soon as possible. But there’s likely a process of steps you’ll need to take with your agency to ensure that your brief is met as well as it can be.
Trust your agency partner when they give you an idea of how long a project will take. Their estimate is likely based on years of experience to give a realistic reflection of the scope of work required.
And if you’ve got a looming deadline, let your agency know. There might be things you can do like splitting the project into phases or de-scoping non-essential tasks to move things along quicker.
What to Include in Your Brief
Ok, let’s get into the specifics. Here’s the information that you should include in your project brief:
● Background and Aims – Communicate the business need for this project. Describe the problem you’re trying to solve or the opportunity you’re trying to embrace.
● Audience – Identify your key audiences and provide as much detail as you have. This may include buyer persona information and links to any existing market research. Consider their expected user journey when interacting with your digital product or service.
● Requirements – Outline your core project requirements at a high level. Think about what functionality you expect to see.
● Integrations – Identify any external or third-party systems that your project will need to connect to. State if these are new to you or existing systems that you work with.
● Inspiration – Include links to other websites, products or services that inspire you. Let your agency know what you like!
● Timeline – Make it clear what timeline you’re working towards and why. If you’ve got any hard deadlines, be sure to include them.
● Budget – Write down the available budget for this project. If you’re not sure of the final budget, try to give an approximate budget range to narrow things down.
Get Your Digital Brief Template Now!
We hope you’ve found this article useful in understanding why a digital brief is important, how to prepare for writing one, and what you should make sure to include.
To make your life easier, we’ve prepared a free briefing template for you. Use it to capture the right information in a clear and concise way.