The ARF calls for “re-orientation in the creative briefing process”

The ARF, also known as The Advertising Research Foundation, has identified the creative brief as an area for improving the advertising process.

The following excerpt is from the conclusions and implications section of the report “On The Road To A New Effectiveness Model”.  You can get the full report from the ARF.

…rethinking the model for advertising might mean a re-orientation in the

creative briefing process.  That might include the following:

A more visual approach to briefing.  Adding key symbols, images, textures, colors that

would help the creative team in understanding and developing the non-verbal aspects of

the brand.

Providing more emotional insights into target audience descriptions by including two or

three example “life stories” of the customer.  These could be brief – 2 or 3 lines – that

give more specificity to the target audience.

Greater emphasis on brand personality.  Going far beyond the typical list of personality

characteristics and really creating more of a persona, using both images and words to

describe who the brand is and is not.  More of a brand biography, with creation story,

likes and dislikes, tastes and style.

A different emphasis on the proof points and rational benefits.  We would no longer

consider them as primary drivers of preference.  Proof points have a new role, which is to

give the consumer a plausible post-rationalization that supports their emotional choices.

Development of new tools that would help with developing “narrative lines” for the

brand. What happens when the consumer interacts with the brand?  What are some strong

storylines?  How do we articulate them in a brief that will be useful to the creative teams?

How does the brand story interact with the consumer’s life story or stories about the


To make a brand brief even more effective, it should be co-created by the client brand director or research director, a creative director and an account planner.

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