Creative briefs for marketing to farmers

Critical to your program’s success in marketing to farmers is following a communications brief that’s been written and approved by key stakeholders.

Because I think of a brief as a project’s blueprint, I’m always surprised when I hear about a campaign launched without one. As a homeowner, you’d never OK construction on your home without first approving the design, budget and timing. Why would you take the risk when marketing to farmers?

The truth is that a brief isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Here’s why.

The brief aligns the team
The greatest value of a brief is its ability to align the team. For instance, what is the communications objective? To build awareness, drive online registrations, increase Twitter followers? How about the target audience? Current users, new users – both? What is the key takeaway of our message, and what proof points do we have to support it?

These are straightforward questions. Yet, in my experience, reaching consensus on any of them is tricky, particularly when there are conflicting opinions among team members. Throw in budget and timing challenges, and what seemed simple is now complicated. Having a brief helps.

The brief invites responsibility across the team
Though one person may author it, a good brief is the result of group discussion. Its existence reinforces that the project belongs to all key stakeholders. If you’ve contributed to the thinking behind the brief, or better yet approved it, then you share responsibility with your team for the strength of the entire marketing effort.

The brief inspires (great) thinking
A simple and powerful truth about briefs sometimes overlooked: they inspire! Just as they focus and invite participation, so too do they encourage creative thinking from everyone (not only those in ‘Creative’ positions.) When ideas are written down in black and white for everyone to read and digest, they tend to trigger even bigger and better ideas. Think about it. Every time we edit, hone and refine an idea, we make it stronger. A good brief assists that process.

Getting to a great brief
So now that you’re convinced of the importance of a brief, how do you get one? The good news: it’s actually simple! In fact, although there is almost no limit to the number of details you could include in your brief, there are just two questions it should answer:

  1. What do we want to achieve? This addresses the project’s objectives, the must-haves for your marketing efforts to reach farmers. No matter how simple the goal, inviting discussion from the team ensures that everyone’s head is in the same place. Answering this question establishes and sets expectations.
  1. How will we get there? This is your opportunity to think through the specific steps needed to reach your goal, including budget, timing, message placement and tone, as well as any other necessities to your project.

Don’t underestimate the value of having a great brief when marketing to farmers. And just like those blueprints for your important house construction project, don’t start without one!