How brief is your briefing process?

Let’s imagine the scenario – you have just won a new client (let’s say it’s a new website) and are excited to get started on the project. You have had some fact find discussions and have enough notes so both you and the client believe you know what is needed and get started with the design.

Fast forward several weeks and you are ready to show the client your first layouts. At this point the client gives you more info based on the designs – they don’t like the way the home page looks or the navigation. It feels too corporate. So back to the drawing board – you leave with a little more info and start work on draft 2.

Sound familiar? Many of us have experienced this resulting in ‘scope creep’, over service and ultimately not being profitable.

Slow down to speed up

Those that know me, will know this is a favourite expression of mine and applies to many business areas, including this one. If we slow down to really understand the client’s needs and wants then we give ourselves the best chance of getting it as close to ‘right’ the first time around. If we don’t, and find ourselves making assumptions, then in our haste, we end up taking much longer to deliver a project, which ultimately means eating away at profits.

So what is your briefing/creative process? Is it documented? Do you train your staff to use it? Do you ensure one way or the other, you take your clients through the process BEFORE you start work on their project?

If you don’t have one, make a list of the 3-5 questions you MUST have answered when taking a brief. Make a list of the next 3-5 questions you would ideally like to have answered. Make sure you understand how to link the business objectives to the creative objectives of this project. If the client can’t answer these questions then you have 2 choices: either write a brief for them and get them to approve/amend it or walk away from the project.

A popular and important discussion and one that I frequently have with my clients. If you want some help with this, get in touch. There is a lot more info on this and similar topics in the whitepaper section of my website.

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