A visual creative brief will improve campaign development and efficiency for shopping centre marketing directors.
A spark went off for us when we read Sarah Williams’ Ad Age article on the benefits of a visual brief. Her premise is that non-visual briefs can easily be misinterpreted. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a word can also be worth a thousand pictures. For instance, words often found in shopping centre briefs such as “edgy, cool, contemporary, premium and approachable” can conjure different images for different team members. Why leave interpretation to chance and risk creative concepts that miss the mark when there are a couple easy steps to help manage this risk?
According to Williams, developing a visual creative brief is deceptively simple and fun.
“You start by getting all of the key decision-makers in a room to build the brief together, and it absolutely must be visual. Our creative team generally collects and edits about 100 images in advance that we think will generate a thought-provoking discussion, and we ask the client to bring visual inspiration as well. Typography, graphic forms, illustrations, photography, even a structural inspiration — we talk through each of these categories together. Roll our sleeves up. Spread all the images out on the table. Move them back and forth. Sometimes it takes a few tries for everyone to get warmed up, but soon everyone is in the flow. We ask the client to talk openly about the “whys” and the “why nots” when selecting or rejecting an image. This is where the magic happens and deeper understanding is formed. Not only do our designers get access to greater depths of insight, but clients are now communicating in visuals and creating greater alignment among their own team as well.”
This approach could be applied to better understanding the target and her lifestyle; to better define a shopping centre’s fashion positioning, personality characteristics and the desired look and feel for a particular campaign; and to identify where certain visual boundaries exist (i.e. we would never do that . . . but we would love to do that!). The benefits of this approach are many including creating visual consensus on key strategy elements, a greater sense of teamwork during development, deeper commitment and investment in the project by everyone, and ultimately, greater efficiency. The result will be more effective work delivered on budget and on time.
We encourage you to give this a try for an upcoming project. After all, what does “everyday casual chic” really look like?