5 reasons to create a brief; effective marketing for SMEs


The average UK SME spends almost £24,000 a year on marketing, with the rule of thumb for marketing budget being around 10% of revenue… more if you want to make a huge impact, quickly.

That’s a big investment by anyone’s standards, and yet so many business owners will enter into a design project without a brief; flying blind. If you add to this the fact that most businesses are now producing large volumes of marketing resources across multiple channels (print, online, social etc.), it soon becomes apparent that the marketing process needs to be as efficient as possible if it is to deliver maximum results. And that all starts with a well-written brief.

Natalie Porter, Graphic Designer Extraordinaire at VMS sheds some light: “The creative brief makes sure that everyone is on the same page, and holds all the relevant information in one, easy to navigate, central location. As a professional marketing services agency we take the creative brief very seriously. It allows us to develop a comprehensive understanding of our client’s objective and better determine how we can deliver the most value.”


Marketing is more effective if its starts with a well written brief, and here’s 5 reasons why…


  • No plan = no direction. What do you want to achieve? How will you measure success? Where do you see your business in the near future? Is any of this realistic?
  • You want to be heard. What are the key messages, what are the key points you need to communicate? What’s your tone of voice, style of words, images, sounds, that you’ll use?
  • Time saved is money saved. By detailing a creative brief before a project begins, and agreeing on a firm course of action many of the inevitable revisions and corrections caused by poor planning can be avoided.
  • Streamline approvals. All too often when the approval process is reached, business owners will make statement such as ‘I’d like it to be cleaner looking’ or ‘I don’t like that typeface’. But effective design is not about personal opinion. A creative brief creates a filter, through which all approvals can pass. Does the design fit with the target audience? Will it achieve the desired outcome?  Will it help achieve business objectives? These are the questions that matter.
  • Track success. The marketing we carry out for our clients must be accountable, and be able to demonstrate the positive impact on business objectives. By having a creative brief that states those objectives we’re able to ensure that we do not begin to move in the wrong direction.


Need help defining your brief? Talk to us today


As The Design Council explains, design could be one of the best investments you ever make for your business. But designers are only as good as the brief you give them, so it’s vital to get it right. At all stages of the design process the brief is the point of reference both of you can go back to for clarity.



At VMS HQ we use this straight forward creative brief to set a project off on the right foot…


  • Item / needs required  (e.g. DM piece, press ad, brochure) & product / service to be featured
  • Target audience & objective of piece  (i.e. who is it aimed at and what should they do / think as a result?)
  • Message to convey (e.g. what are the benefits of this particular product / service, what is the offer, what are the selling points?)
  • Copy / content required?
  • Imagery required (any specific style / tone of voice)?
  • Tone of voice (e.g. authoritative, helpful, questioning)
  • Are there any practical considerations (e.g. size and file format for press ads,  paper weight / type for DM pieces, will the same theme be used in other pieces / campaign that needs to work across different media? / response mechanism)?
  • Deadlines to consider
  • Quantity required
  • Budget available
  • Contact detailsThe end product is always of much greater quality, a direct result of setting clear objectives, aligning with business objectives and vetting expectations up front.


Write a clear brief that will enable your marketing design team to deliver on expectations – download our free Creative brief form to get started





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