By India Dowley

When it comes to strategic communication, in which messaging shapes perceptions and brands flourish (or die trying), a critical junction of collaboration is between brands and their chosen PR agencies. The vehicle that navigates any journey towards impactful communication is the brief.

A truly effective brief goes beyond a laundry list of demands; it forms a foundation for a partnership that resonates with expertise and insight. As communications experts, we’ve seen it all – the good, the bad and the downright ugly. 

Here’s everything we know about creating a brilliant brief.


  1. Introducing your brand

At the heart of an impactful brief is a vivid introduction to your brand. Agencies dedicate time to researching potential clients, yet your insight into your business's ethos and trajectory is invaluable. By articulating your business's objectives, and current and future vision, your brief lays the foundation for a partnership rooted in shared understanding.

  1. Market research and competitive analysis

Before briefing your agency, conduct thorough market research and competitive analysis. Share these insights in your brief to help the agency understand your brand's position in the market, what your competitors are doing, and potential opportunities and threats. This information will enable them to create more effective strategies.
  1. Defining audiences and refining strategies

Effective communication hinges on pinpointing your target audience. Within the brief, crystallise your desired demographic. Whether it's industry professionals, a diverse consumer base, or a specific region, this clarity allows the agency to tailor strategies that resonate with you. By spotlighting audience preferences, the brief establishes campaigns that engage and captivate.
  1. SWOT analysis

Include a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) in your brief. This strategic framework can help the agency identify areas where your brand can excel and areas that need improvement. It provides a comprehensive view of your brand's current situation.

  1. Framing objectives and KPIs

In PR, objectives function as guiding stars. Within the brief, articulate your goals, KPIs, and preferred outcomes. Be it media features, backlinks, trade articles, podcast appearances, awards or crisis management, these specifics empower the agency to craft strategies that steer your brand to the intended outcomes. Precision clarifies expectations and ensures that both sides share a common understanding of success.

  1. Key messages and brand voice

Clearly define your brand's key messages and tone of voice in the brief. Consistency in messaging is crucial for brand identity. Provide examples of previous successful messaging or campaigns if applicable.

  1. Amplifying milestones and crafting narratives

PR campaigns that resonate often anchor themselves in brand milestones. Whether it's a product launch, financial report, proprietary research unveiling or a key team addition, these moments offer storytelling goldmines. By integrating landmarks within the brief, you enable the agency to weave compelling narratives that capitalise on significant moments. These campaigns not only build anticipation but also amplify brand positioning, ensuring that each milestone reverberates with maximum impact.
  1. Communication channels

Discuss which communication channels you prefer or have had success with in the past. This can include traditional media, social media, influencer marketing, email newsletters, or content marketing. Highlight any channels that align with your target audience.

  1. Details that ignite action

No blueprint is complete without intricate details. Specify your budget, outline timelines, and propose potential angles for exploration. Collaborative partners or publications you wish to engage with? Make it known. These specifics fuel a purposeful dialogue, enabling the agency to align its pitch with your brand's aspirations effectively.

  1. Budget allocation

Provide a detailed breakdown of your budget for the campaign. Be open to discussions about budget allocation and listen to the agency's recommendations. They may suggest reallocating resources to channels that are likely to yield better results.

  1. Creative freedom

While it's important to provide guidelines and objectives, allow your agency creative freedom. Professionals in the industry often have unique and innovative ideas. Trust their expertise and be open to creative solutions that may not have been in your initial brief.

  1. Measurement and analytics

Clearly define how success will be measured. Specify the metrics that matter most to you, such as website traffic, lead generation, brand mentions or sales. Discuss the tools and analytics platforms that will be used to track progress.

  1. Feedback and communication process

Outline the feedback and communication process in your brief. Establish regular check-in meetings and reporting intervals. Effective communication between you and the agency is key to making real-time adjustments and ensuring the campaign stays on track.

  1. Contingency plans

Include contingency plans in case the campaign encounters unexpected challenges or crises. Having a plan in place for managing negative publicity or other issues can help minimise damage and maintain brand reputation.

  1. Long-term goals

If applicable, discuss your long-term goals and how this campaign fits into your brand's overall strategy. This can help the agency align the campaign with your broader objectives.

  1. Diversity and inclusion

Consider highlighting your brand's commitment to diversity and inclusion in your brief. Agencies often appreciate working with clients who value these principles, and it can be an important aspect of your brand's identity.

  1. Legal and compliance requirements

If your industry has specific legal or compliance requirements, make sure to communicate these clearly in the brief. It's essential that the agency operates within legal boundaries.

  1. Environmental and social responsibility

If your brand has a commitment to environmental or social responsibility, convey this in the brief. Sustainability and corporate responsibility can be important aspects of a campaign's messaging.

Looking for an agency to help out with PR for your brand or business? Set up a discovery call with us today.

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