Magazine article Marketing

Creating a Winning Internet Campaign: New Media Shops Require Effective Briefs to Deliver Successful Online Projects. (Internet)

Magazine article Marketing

Creating a Winning Internet Campaign: New Media Shops Require Effective Briefs to Deliver Successful Online Projects. (Internet)

Article excerpt

Any agency working in any discipline will tell you that a bad piece of work usually starts with a bad brief. But in the world of new media, how can a client effectively tell an agency what it wants?

"The perception is that interactive projects are late, over-budget and never achieve ROI," says Omaid Hiwaizi, executive creative director, of HHM Interactive, the new media division of integrated agency HHM. "It's down to a combination of poor planning, briefs and management."

In the past, says Hiwaizi, new media agencies have typically come up with the goods in terms of creative work, but have had problems because, unlike more established agencies, they have no heritage of customer service.

HHM splits its briefing process into two stages: a preliminary ideas brief, in which ideas are generated and thought through, followed by a production brief in which the details of the implications of the technical production process are ironed out.

"You have to start with the idea - because if that's wrong, no amount of slick execution will make up for it," says Hiwaizi.

Graham Darracott, sales and marketing director at Graphico New Media, agrees the standard of briefs that new media agencies are given is not good. "Clients don't tend to think, 'what's our objective?"' he says. "It's always, 'our competitors are doing it, so we're going to do it as well'."

Campaign integration

According to Darracott, agencies typically have to spend a lot of time trying to educate clients. Part of the problem, he says, lies in the fact that this is still a young industry, where many of the practitioners are inexperienced and many of the clients even more so.

But recently, he says, things have improved as some companies employ new media managers. "I have witnessed a higher standard of briefs, but many companies still aren't using them. It's only the smarter ones going down this route."

Alistair Daly, client partner at Euro RSCG Circle, highlights a trend toward integration in which offline and online campaigns are brought together. In these situations the sooner the new media agency is brought into the briefing process, the better.

"By involving new media agencies earlier on in the process, creatives will respond with a digital solution that sits with the campaign proposition, supports the brand online and delivers the client's online objectives," says Daly.

The AAR's digital division provides consultancy for clients and new media agencies. "Both sides need to to buy in, at a very early stage, to the development of what needs to be achieved," says Juliet Blackburn, head of digital at the AAR. "Clients need to be open and honest about their expectations and understand what can be achieved by the agency."

Allan Grimshaw, account director at new media agency beech2, agrees. "To get the best work from agencies, a client must believe in the briefing process. It does take time to develop the right internal briefs. Gathering all the relevant reference material, and spending adequate time with the agency are crucial to the success of a project. And you have to focus clients at the very start of a project on the real business or marketing objectives they want to achieve."

This is easier said than done, especially if the client has not really given the matter much thought.

Technical know-how

New media agency JKD has devised what it calls a 'Creative Brief and Technical Questionnaire' to help it extract clear briefs from its clients. …

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