Don’t know how to write a brief? We’ll keep it brief…
So you’ve realised that video is something your company needs, but now you’re not sure how to put together a brief, and find the right company or freelancer to produce what you want. Whoever you end up using, here are some details we think you should always include in a brief and at the end we will post a template you can use to create your own.
Assume whoever is reading the document knows nothing about your company. Some key points to cover are:
- How, where and when did the company start?
- What product/s or service/s do you offer?
- Who are you selling to?
- How do you sell to them?
- Who are your competitors?
- Include details of any key staff or project stakeholders.
- Have you produced videos before and if so, give details on them.
- Remember to include any useful links!
This is the point where you can go into detail about exactly what the project should like like and what the objective is. The more you can give, the better. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth including it, just put it in there!
- Give an overview of the current situation and what has led to you to want/need these videos.
- Who is going to be watching them and where will they be watching them?
- What do you want someone to do once they’ve watched them?
- How long do you want the videos to be?
- What do you want the overall tone of the videos to be? This can be really important and will affect the music choice, the design of any graphics or animation, the way B-roll is shot (if needed) and the pace with which the whole film is edited together.
- Have you thought about how you want the video to be made up – is it led by interviews? Voiceover? On-screen graphics? Don’t worry if you don’t know this as it can all be discussed with your chosen producer but if you’ve any ideas in advance, it’s always best to share them.
- What does a successful video look like? Or rather what do the results of a successful video look like. It always help to set the benchmark from the outset.
- Are there any key objections that people have when considering your product or service, and of so do you want these videos to help overcome these? It doesn’t mean such objections have to be explicitly addressed or highlighted, but can you can highlight features of what you do to fend them off.
- When is your deadline?
- What do you need delivered? Think about different versions for different places/platforms. Do you need subtitles? Do you want translated versions?
- Are there any ‘surprises that the video producer needs to be aware of, like approvals from people who only work on certain days or in different time zones.
- Is there a particular way you like suppliers to work?
- Some companies have specific portals via which any outsourced work needs to go for comment or approvals. Make sure any supplier is aware of this as early as possible.
- Be clear on what deliverables you expect. If you have certain technical specifications that need to be adhered to, make sure they’re included.
- What aspect ratio do you need? In other words what shape screen or viewer is it going on – standard is 16:9, but you may want it square for Instagram or ‘Portrait’ for Snapchat or TikTok. Be sure to let your producer know in advance as they need to make sure the content is framed right when filming.
This may well be covered elsewhere in the Brief, but it’s always worth being totally explicit on what the key objectives of this video are. We think that ALL videos are about building trust in your company, product or service, but how will this video do this?
Here you can give any ideas or requirements about how you want the videos to look and feel. Some specifics you can include are:
- Have you seen any other videos before that you like? If so, link to them.
- In the same breath as the above, have you seen any you DON’T like and really want to avoid? Again, link to them.
- Kind of a continuation of the first two points, but what are your competitors up to? How do you want what you’re doing to be similar or different to what they are?
- Is there a Brand Styleguide that needs to be followed? If so, link to it or make sure it gets sent.
- If you’ve made videos before, what did you like or dislike about them? And what did you like or dislike about the process of making them?
Clients can often not want to give away details of their budget. I don’t know whether they’re worried we’ll always charge as much as possible, rather than charging or what the job costs but ultimately, if you don’t trust who you’re bringing in to produce your video, I’d say they’re not the right partner for you.
Being clear on budgets can save a lot of time on both sides – you can always ask for additional options as part of a proposal that cost more than you’ve budgeted and less than you’ve budgeted so you know what you get for different prices.
If you’re not sure what your budget is, here are some things to think about:
- How much difference could this video make to your business if it succeeds in what it sets out to do?
- What the cost be of NOT doing the video?
- How much can you afford to spend?
If you want to get an idea of what different video costs are likely to be, we’ve put together a guide that you can view here
When do you need the whole project completed by?
If there are any key deadlines that need to be met along the way, be clear about these. Schedule can always be discussed if you’re not sure how long to allow for different parts of the production process.
Hopefully the above was useful. As mentioned at the top, we’ve included a Brief Template below for you to use in case it helps, and as always, if you’ve any questions about anything covered here – or anything to do with video production in general – we’re always available to chat.