CREATING STRONG CAMPAIGN BRIEFS
Here at One Roof, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of a considered, campaign brief and its impact on how an Influencer project will perform. Once a pitch has been won, budget has been agreed and the concept has been signed off, all of the aforementioned work can go to waste if it isn’t properly communicated as a brief for influencers to work from.
Rather than another step to be hurried through, taking the time to dig into the vision for the campaign can make all the difference. Consider the brief as a complete overview of the vision, concept, expectation, delivery and anticipated result. Discussion with everyone involved is incredibly important before a brief is written, as there will no doubt be insight on the creative output that the brand and influencers respectively know best in order for the campaign to perform most effectively.
To ensure a smooth working relationship on both sides, it’s essential to not only manage expectations, but let influencers exercise their creative freedom, and make the most of time and other resources on both sides of the fence. We’ve set out our basic framework for working with briefs to deliver exceptional campaigns. We’ve popped this into two parts; one for the benefit of the brands, and one for influencers.
CAMPAIGN BRIEFS FOR BRANDS
1. BRAND INTRODUCTION
Context is key. It’s the Influencer’s responsibility to create content that feels authentic to their channels, while incorporating the brand’s key product or messaging, but you need to make sure to distil any information you consider essential.
Ideally, the influencer will already know the brand well and this is why you have reached the stage of a partnership. However, this isn’t always the case and it needs to be remembered that Influencers are not internal staff members so the nuisances and subtleties of the brand may go unnoticed. They’re not copywriters for you, so they don’t need to mimic your style or voice, but there needs to be alignment between your objectives.
We recommend giving them five key points that define the brand to help them understand your core values. Additionally giving them your internal brand content guidelines (if you have them) can help them understand how you represent your brand to the market. However, do remember that it’s incredibly important that their own TOV isn’t lost in the narrative as it’s this voice that resonates with their audience.
2. CAMPAIGN INTRODUCTION
While it sounds basic, it’s crucial to explicitly outline the focal point of the campaign. Is it a new product launch, a way to tap into a new audience, or boost brand engagement amongst your existing customers? How did the brand reach the point of realisation that this product was needed in their offering? Nail this description, and the Influencers you work with will be able to communicate your key message with ease.
3. DELIVERABLES & REQUIREMENTS
Amount, format, platform – you don’t need to describe them imaginatively (the campaign concept is the creative heavyweight), but the precise deliverables required for the fee do need to be explicitly included. For instance, if your campaign centres around a sophisticated concept that requires long-format content to explain, then make sure this is clear.
For example, an ‘Instagram Story’ is a wildly different deliverable to an ‘Instagram Story series’. We, for the record, always recommend the latter – and instead write a list of key messaging you need explaining, rather than a specific number of 15-second posts whereby your messaging may be shoehorned.
By identifying the specific shots you require an Influencer to produce, it means you’re more likely to be able to approve their content on the first pass. As part of a creative brief, it’s often helpful for you to demonstrate previous posts the Influencer has created that you like – or provide visual references for them. Do you need to see packaging shots, before-and-afters, or a hotel room tour? Add it to the creative brief, so the Influencer can bring their unique approach to the campaign, while ensuring it fits the brand’s requirements. Essentially, you are creating a floor plan, and you then allow the influencer to furnish and decorate to their own tastes.
Keywords and messaging can also be outlined here, and remember to think about the flip side – what can’t Influencers do as part of the campaign? The no’s are often more important than the yes’. While content needs to be authentic, they’re acting as a brand ambassador so negativity and controversial opinions should be avoided, along with immediate or comparative mentions of competitors. It depends on your exclusivity period whether you will be able to request an Influencer avoid working with your direct competitors, but it is possible to ask that paid content for a rival product doesn’t appear on the grid adjacent or close proximity to your campaign (either as paid for, or organic content).
Think about the audience you want to reach through this particular Influencer, and ascertain that they have that following through their statistics prior to starting the campaign. Nano Influencers tend to have niche demographics and higher @ engagement, whereas macros (over 100k followers) often have broader communities and lower % engagement. Find out when your target customers the influencer has are most engaged and incorporate that into your campaign planning – making sure that content reaches the people you want to see it can make all the difference to the rate of engagement.
5. EVALUATING & REPORTING SUCCESS
Once content goes live, the job is far from done. Delivering insights back to a brand should be as much of a deliverable as the content itself, and that should be laid out in a contract. You want to see definitive results and how they measure up against the particular goals and objectives set for the campaign. Whilsts you can’t necessarily adopt a “pass or fail” concept for influencer marketing, you can agree on some expectations pre-campaign. By outlining how this will work in the creative brief, you’re already setting up success for both brand and Influencer – they know to deliver their Instagram Story insights within the 14-day window, and you can structure your reporting safe in the knowledge of what evidence is coming your way.
You need to amalgamate all of this information into a single brief, to be supplied to the Influencer before the campaign begins. Anything covered in phone calls or emails should be repeated, which is imperative to avoid confusion.
CAMPAIGN BRIEFS FOR INFLUENCERS
Creative briefs aren’t just for brands to layout their requirements – they’re for Influencers to use as a framework for delivering their work, and making sure there is a defined brief arms Influencers with the tools to produce insightful, interesting content. If a brand fails to provide a brief, we’d suggest you create one. It confirms the work you are being paid to do and gives you a framework to deliver from.
1. BRAND IDENTITY & CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES
The brand should have outlined their style and identity for you, but you may want to delve deeper and ask more questions. Has the brand done campaigns with Influencers before? How did they go? Understanding the challenges their strategy has faced in the past can allow you to anticipate and overcome issues further down the line.
Whether or not you have an agent as an intermediary, it’s important everyone understands what department is commissioning the content. PR and Marketing will have very different targets for the campaign from a trading team. Is this a branding/awareness exercise, or are they focused on conversions and specific sales figures? Take this into consideration when creating your content, and if you aren’t sure a concept will work raise this concern before you agree to deliver the work.
2. IMAGE RIGHTS
Check what image rights the brand require, and decide what you are willing to offer up. Influencer content is increasingly becoming a part of wider campaigns, so it’s likely that a brand will want to feature your images in the rest of their marketing strategy. When negotiating your fees, be sure to discuss requirements (paid social media, website, email marketing), and check that this is reflected in your agreement/contract.
While the brand will likely have included the type of images they want to see, you know what your followers really find compelling, so don’t be afraid of imaginatively interpreting this part of the brief. We suggest asking the brand to show you 3 of your previous images that they like and get them to explain why. It’ll help you understand what part of your tone of voice, or style, they’re looking to resonate with.
Influencer Marketing is a confluence of personality, authenticity and authority, which is why brands want to collaborate on campaigns. Your unique visual identity is your USP – so don’t shy away and try to emulate their existing work, the whole point is that this is your interpretation and reflection on their campaign.
4. CAPTIONS & COPY
Maintain your creative voice, but make sure your copy is flawless. If the brand give you fixed copy and you know your audience won’t like it, say so! It’s to the benefit of everyone that the content is well received by your following.
Check product name spellings, hashtags, and which account you should be tagging (do they have difference handles for the US and UK territories, or is it the global team you’re working with?) – the brand should catch any inaccuracies that you couldn’t have anticipated, but a sense check before sending could mean that you nail it on the first pass.
For YouTube videos or Instagram Stories, ask for clarity over how to say the brand or product name! While a caption can be easily corrected, a reshoot means extra creative work and use of resources. Yeses
Deliver them on time, and check on them yourself in the meantime. If a campaign isn’t performing as well as you’d thought, weigh up the option of creating additional content to satisfy the expectation of a client, against recognising perhaps this isn’t something your audience is interested in. As much as your content has a financial value, the benefit of going the extra mile for a brand to make a project is what will secure you a positive and long term relationship with them.
Ultimately, it’s not all about the contractual details or being prescriptive – a brief should inspire both parties to produce exciting content, and fruitful relationships. It can be a delicate process, but getting it right means that you can create the biggest impact for customers and followers. Remember, this framework can be adapted to best suit your campaign requirements, so use it as a jumping off point and dive in!
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