As human beings we instinctively try avoid problems instead of actively pursuing them. But the best businesses, not just agencies, are the best at actively identifying and solving problems. They’re also the best at defining them.
If we understand the problems we must solve, and communicate them effectively, we can lead each other in the right directions. If we’re spending time ignoring them or sweeping them under the rug, we may end up under one too. Problems range from small everyday things (I am feeling unmotivated, I have writer’s block, this process isn’t working, we may not have enough billings next month) to big client problems that they essentially pay us to solve for them. As a creative agency, our ability to solve problems in new and unexpected ways is what sets us apart. But that cannot happen if we’re never making it a priority to identify them, talk about them, offer solutions and solve them better than other businesses do. Simply identifying problems isn’t enough, if we don’t actively solve them together. But realising that they do exist and being okay with talking about them, is the most formidable battle you can win in the overall war.
For us, a bad brief is, “We have this product, nothing is good about it, please find more customers for it” or “We are doing this because we think we should”. A good creative brief is one that articulates the problem we’re trying to solve for the client, “This product isn’t working, how can we improve it for customer segment x, y and z”. A great creative brief is one that articulates a problem we are trying to, or can, solve for the customer. That’s where insights and human truths come in.