What is a Creative Brief in Video Production?

By November 29, 2012

When requesting a quote for video production, you may be asked to complete a creative brief. Here’s what it tells us.

A creative brief is a document that details all of the requirements and goals of a project, allowing a video production company to provide an accurate estimate on costs and to propose a creative approach.

This document will then be used when we prepare a project proposal. Our approach is a little different as we can work with our clients to prepare a creative brief during the strategic planning stage, so don’t worry if you don’t have one.

Project Overview

We’ll start with an overview of the project, including a brief description, the number of videos you may be considering (if doing series), the length you had in mind, etc. Essentially, we’re looking at the ‘what’ of the project here.

Scope of Services Required

We’ll then look at the scope of services that might be required. This might include filming of interviews on-location, perhaps some green-screen work in our studio, script writing and a professional voice-over, motion graphics and 3D animation, etc. Consider this the ‘how’ of the project.

You may have no idea of the scope of services that will be required in the project and that is no problem – that’s where we can help. But it will save time if you could note anything specific that you are pretty sure you’re going to need.

Target Audience

It is very important to consider the target audience in any form of marketing or communications and video is no different.

Will you be speaking internally to employees or shareholders, or externally to potential or existing clients? What are the demographics such as gender, age and location?

Here are some examples of how this information might be used:

  • In B2B marketing or communications projects, a more formal tone may be taken in the script writing and voice-over than with B2C or when speaking to employees.
  • If targeting an audience who is very knowledgeable in a particular field, such as IT professionals, you’ll want to go into more detail in terms of features and specifications. Those in upper management may be more concerned with the benefits of your product or service such as cost savings.
  • A recruitment or training video aimed at a younger demographic may need to be a little more fast-paced and edgy.
  • A video promoting a professional service or investment opportunity which depends on the credibility of the company’s senior management should rely on interviews with them or footage of them speaking directly to camera.
  • An American audience may not appreciate British spelling of any on-screen text or ‘Canadian’ pronunciation of certain words in the voice-over (which is no problem as we can provide versions in any language and region).

If we find that you are speaking to multiple audiences or demographics we may recommend that the project be split into a series of videos or perhaps that slight variations are produced with different voice-overs or on-screen text.

Objective and Call-To-Action

This may have been covered briefly in discussing the overview of the project, but why are you having the project produced in the first place and what is the specific outcome you are hoping to achieve? This may include educating customers, increasing sales, etc.

More specifically, how will you know if the project has been a success? Are there any metrics that will be used, such as tracking leads to a landing page on your website?

The goal here is to develop a clear ‘call-to-action’ for the video. This can simply be what we’re asking the viewer to do in the last few moments of the video (eg. “visit our website to find out more”). But it should also inform the rest of the content and message and therefore it is important to only have one, specific objective for each video.

Similar to when there are multiple target audiences for a project, if you have more than one objective or calls-to-action for a video we will recommend that the content be split into a series of videos or alternate version. For example, if a video will be used for lead generation on YouTube to bring people to your site, the call-to-action would be slightly different than for viewers who are already on your site but who you’re hoping to convert by having sign up for a newsletter or request a consultation.

Distribution & Deliverables

After exploring your objectives we will get a little more specific about possible distribution of the project which may affect the deliverables and therefore the costs.

Standard deliverables typically include a high-definition file optimized for YouTube, but some projects are still delivered on DVD which may require DVD authoring and perhaps DVD duplication services.

There’s also a chance that your plans for distribution may affect the content itself. For example, a training video that is over 10-15 minutes may need to be split into segments or chapters for distribution on the web, in which case logical chapter points should be scripted into the video with ‘head and tail’ graphics for each. Another example is if the video will be used in a trade show setting where the sound may need to be muted, requiring the use of subtitles or perhaps less reliance on a voice-over to tell the story and instead more on-screen text and other visuals.

Your Project Team

It may not seem important that this early stage, but we’ll need a little background on who will be involved in the project from your team and, more specifically, who will have final approval on deliverables.

We’ve be doing this long-enough to know that, when working with large committees, timelines need to be extended for feedback and approvals. We’ll want to account for vacations and schedules of any key decision makers when planning our project milestones, and may need to budget for additional revision stages depending on the number of approvals required.

Examples of Similar Projects

Let’s not reinvent the wheel! Even providing us with examples of what you don’t like to make sure that we don’t propose an approach you’ve already decided won’t work for you.

It can be difficult to determine a client’s expectations when it comes to style and production value, so providing links to any similar projects you’ve seen online, in our portfolio, or that of another video production company, can really help. We’d also like to see any videos your company has done in the past to make sure we’re consistent or to see where you’d like to improve.

Timeline and Required Delivery Date

How soon will require a proposal and when might you make a buying decision? When do you hope to get started on the project? When would you like it finished? We’ll go over the obvious stuff, but sometimes a timeline is more complicated.

Are you currently re-branding, working on a new website, or anything else that should be considered? Are key decision makers going on vacation during the project timeline? If producing multiple versions of a video or a series of videos, will some be needed sooner than others?

Your Budget

This can be an uncomfortable discussion for some, but it is important to consider your budget for a project in order to propose the most effective solution and creative approach.

If your budget is fairly low, we may need to limit the number of days of filming or perhaps use only a voice-over and motion graphics to tell our story. Inversely, a healthier budget may allow for additional production value, professional actors, etc. Learn more about how video production is budgeted.

During an initial consultation, your account manager can discuss with you the rough costs for various types of projects to help you plan an allocate a budget if you have not already done so. Contact us to request a consultation to get started on your own creative brief!