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glasses resting atop a video creative brief

How to Put Together A Useful Video Creative Brief

You’ve been tasked with managing a video project. You need to communicate strategic information to the creative team that will make the video. That means you need a video creative brief.

As video producers that work with a range of brands and organizations, we’ve seen all kinds of video creative briefs. Some were immediately useful, others actually created more confusion. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your briefs work for your production team. 

What is a Video Creative Brief?

Simply put, a video creative brief is a document that outlines important details about your video. It helps the production team make strategic decisions by sharing the who, what, how, and why of your message. 

A video creative brief may be packaged as an email, a shared document, or a slide deck. Whatever the format, what matters is that you’re giving the production team the information they need to create a quality video for you. As the name implies, a brief should be short — generally two pages or less. 

At IdeaRocket, we prefer to build a creative brief based on an in-depth interview, because it allows for some serendipity. Other studios use questionnaires. Whether you’re drafting a brief, answering a questionnaire, or joining a discovery call, you’ll want to have certain information at hand.

Parts of a Video Creative Brief

Every video creative brief should include seven parts. Think of these as the questions your video production team needs answered so they can do their best work.

1. What Is the Objective of the Video?

Your video marketing objective is quite simply the “why” behind your video. What do you hope to accomplish by making this video? All of the other information in your brief is based on this. A good objective should be: 

  • Specific
  • Connected to broader marketing or branding goals
  • Measurable by a metric
  • Time-based

2. Who Is The Audience?

Your word choice, metaphors, character design, and messaging all depends on who you are trying to reach. In real life, you wouldn’t talk to an 18-year-old the same way you would address your boss. The same is true in video. Getting to know your audience can help you make a better video.

At minimum specify these demographic factors:

  • Age
  • Gender mix
  • Income level
  • Educational level
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Nationality

For B2B audiences, make sure you also include the person’s job title and place in the decision-making process or hierarchy. 

You might take it a step further and consider psychographics. These include goals, interests, temperaments and ways of interacting with the world. A group of yoga teachers are going to be very different psychologically than a group of stockbrokers.

3. What Is The Brand?

Branding helps people recognize and learn to trust your organization. An animated video can help you build brand awareness if it clearly represents your brand. Share your branding guidelines with your production team. If you don’t already have a video branding guide, think about: 

  • Your graphic identity: typefaces, colors, graphical elements, etc.
  • Brand voice and personality: formal or informal, funny or serious, entertaining or informative?
  • Reusable footage: do you have logo animations, text treatments, or video footage that represents your brand?
  • Audio elements: music, theme song, jingles, or voice recordings you already have. Some brands have sound effects that are integral to their identity (HBO, for instance.)

Finally, define how important it is to express this brand as part of the video. Sometimes, companies have good reasons to not brand a video strongly, or to leave their brand out of it all together. Just make sure your level of branding is a conscious choice.

4. How Will The Video Be Distributed?

Think about how you plan to share your video. Every platform has its own requirements for length, format, and compression. Knowing how your video will be used helps us optimize it for that platform.

The distribution method can affect how the video is made and delivered. For example, a trade show floor video is will need to be more graphic (to attract booth visitors), less dependent on sound (because it’s a noisy environment,) and will loop well.

Sometimes clients tell us they want to distribute their video everywhere. In that case, we can offer adjustable formats or other solutions. 

5. What Is The Message?

Now we come to the heart of your video. The message is what you want to tell the audience you’ve identified to help you achieve the objective you’ve set. 

This might include information about the solution, pain points, or differentiators. Consider: 

  • The pain point you want to address
  • How buyers experience that problem
  • Features and differentiators
  • Emotional and practical benefits
  • The action you want viewers to take after watching

For videos aimed at employees or other internal stakeholders consider: 

  • What you want them to learn and why
  • How you want their behavior to change
  • Any compliance requirements this video must meet
  • Your organizational culture

In most cases, your goal is not simply to share information. Usually you want to change behavior or encourage action. Refer back to your objective to help shape your message. 

6. What Is The Style?

Each animation style brings its own flavor to your video. The right style can support your message and help define your brand. Decide whether you prefer: 

Mixed media videos may mix elements of some or all of these styles and there is some overlap between them. A lot of motion graphics videos use 3d animation, for instance. At this stage, you’re not making an ironclad commitment, just specifying which animated video style feels right for your brand.

7. How Long Should The Video Be?

Research shows that viewers are more likely to watch shorter videos. Average engagement drops off for videos longer than 60 seconds. That doesn’t mean you can never make a 2 minute video. It just means you should keep your videos as short and focused as possible.

Your target audience and distribution plan both matter here. We’ve put together a whole guide to help you understand how long a video should be for each platform. If you’re not sure, just ask. We help our clients make decisions like this everyday. 

A Super Simple Video Creative Brief Template

We’ve created a super simple video creative brief you can download, print and fill in. Use it to organize your thoughts or share it with your production team. 

If this post was useful, you might want to download my ebook, Succeeding With Animated Video. It offers even more advice on how to manage an animated video production for your organization. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the ebook for free.

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