The dwindling act of ‘briefing’
Briefing, a word that carries so much in a service industry. One of the most important acts in the
process of delivering the final product. It carried the juice of the project and so, squeezing the
client in the right manner to extract the optimum quantity and best quality juice was the crux of
the briefing session. And more evolved clients kept their juice ready to feed the servicing team
for any communication activity and to be more specific to the Agency…be it for creating a
strategy, planning the account, delivering creative or planning the media. The specs of briefing
not only what is required as the final output but the why of it too. The best thing was that
everything got documented in written form in a specific format. That entailed data, insights and
brand propositions. The amalgamation of tangible and intangible inputs gave the other side of the
table so much to think, debate and propose. There was a format for briefing and that varied
within subjective limits from organisation to organisation. Not so evolved clients, junior
manager/executives at the client end, most of the time got mad over the briefing formats. Even
juniors at the agency end cursed the format as a mere formality and ritualistic act.
But actually, during the process of creating the final delivery, most of the elements in the brief
were so important. These parameters either gave the client objective reasons to establish their
point of view, or helped the client drive home the point what they needed and actually helped
deliver good end-results based of deep understanding of the requirements.
With the digitisation of the communication industry, briefs started taking more compressed
shapes. The client was always busy and many of them considered briefing a wastage of time.
Inputs of jobs and even campaigns started coming over WhatsApp messages and the worse part
of it is that they come in parts. Whatever is not given over WhatsApp messages is supposed to
be extracted from the digital properties distributed over various platforms.
Digital, anyways, have made us restless for faster and tangible deliveries. And without a thread
to bind, the entire digital presence with a single tonality and expected deliveries will dwindle and
will make the client more restless. Subsequently, the client will start sending inputs for the next
communication in desperate WhatsApp inputs, by parts. Thus, the deliveries will weaken further.
Digital agencies, however small they are, must insist and if required, should educate the client on
working on proper written formats for briefing, however small the job is. Because if the client gets
used to the convenience of getting deliveries without having to give a written proper brief, it may
become difficult to get the client out from the comfort zone. And the brand will suffer eventually.