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An Interactive Guide to Writing a Brief for Communications Agencies

What is a Client Brief? 

... and how does it fit in to the rest of the Marketing Communications process?

strategic planning
communications planning
client brief: Statement of the problem/opportunity. Emphasis on clarity and a succinct summation of the brand's current position, its marketing strategy and where it wants to get to.  Should always be written by the client.
creative brief: The beginnings of the creative solution.  Emphasis on crystallising the strategic ideas to provide a springboard that will inform and inspire creative ideas.  Usually written by the agency