Project Management

Brown Bag Lunch: Minimum Viable Creative Briefs

By Nicholas Gracilla  ·   September 12, 2012  ·  2 minute read

Topics: Strategy

How can a creative brief be less monolithic, quicker to produce, and more useful for our clients?

How can a creative brief be less monolithic, quicker to produce, and more useful for our clients?

At this week’s Brown Bag Lunch Talk, Sonia led us through some of the current thinking of creative briefs. We’re an Agile Development shop, so it was natural for us to start thinking about the agency-world challenges of creative briefs, answered by strategies from the Agile and Lean development side.

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Google has lead some thinking on how agencies can be faster, more flexible, and more agile. Its they first time we heard of the idea of a Minimum Viable Brief, inspired by Eric Reis’ book, The Lean Startup.

Rather than a brief being a single monolithic strategic narrative, the minimum viable brief focuses on getting to market faster, more collaboratively, and then learning faster in the market, where it counts. We hit on three key ideas:

Recast the Questions

We typically understand our client’s audiences by asking questions about them—you know, “who is your audience?” But that can lead to poor answers (everyone!) that don’t really help us understand our client or the market.

Instead, we’ll be working on recasting the question in a different light, and asking about actual experiences in the market. “Tell us about your sales cycles: who contacts you, and how did they first find out about you?” will tell us a lot more about our client’s customers, what they care about, and what we need to tell them.

Briefs as Hypotheses

Rather than drafting a brief then setting it on the shelf to die, we’ll be re-thinking briefs as hypotheses. “Given this kind of market, this kind of product, and these kinds of clients, we believe that these kinds of tactics will accomplish these kinds of goals.” By casting the brief as a hypothesis, we get away from the document as a stale, done-then-forgotten milestone, and bring it with us through development, production, go live, and well beyond.

Metrics and Revisit Dates

While we’ve always focused on measurable goals in our briefs, we’ll be doing so with greater gusto than ever—and putting in post live, 30 days, 60 days, and 90 day revisit points to check back in with our clients. By re-visiting the creative brief’s hypotheses over the quarter and beyond, we’ll be able to help shape a future content strategy and development strategy that’s real, fact based, and responding to the market. Now that’s lean!