Understanding the Client Brief for a pitch

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Are you a client looking for a way to brief a creative agency or freelancer for a campaign or a very specific creative task? Then make sure you have a good Client Brief template to use.

Truth is that the journey from a powerful marketing strategy to an amazing creative ad campaign is filled with obstacles, but the first and most important step is the briefing session that you as a Client will provide to your future creative partner.

What is a Client Brief?

The Client Brief

The Client Brief is a standardized document prepared by the beneficiary of a campaign or creative proposal (aka “the Client”) through which explains its own marketing plans and the need to use communication, to its creative supplier (aka “the agency” or “the freelancer”).

Don’t miss the critical sections in the Client Brief

There is no universal model of Client Brief to use, but one rule is: Always adapt its structure to the new pitch or project.

Let’s take a look at an example of what you must include in a brief when you’re pitching for an advertising agency and a creative ad campaign. In my opinion, there are 5 essential sections and for each one, I will add some tips as well:

  1. Company background
    • Make a big impression, but be honest
    • Tell a nice story about a recent success
    • Picture the current status and the bright future
  2. What’s the brief about
    • Detail your marketing strategy for the new project (launch, rebranding, etcetera)
    • Share as much data as possible (you, benchmarks vs. others)
  3. The goals (sales & marketing) 
    • Keep it short, you need to focus the strategic thinkers towards your no.1 objective
    • Don’t state too many goals, you might end up with creative proposals that will miss the point
  4. Deliverables
    • This is self-explanatory, just list everything you expect to receive in the pitch
    • If you pitch for creative work always include some references, so the agency gets your style
  5. The Budget
    • This is a big issue in many pitches, clients that do not provide budgets or at least some limits look like they haven’t done their homework
    • State a budget or the creative output will suffer

In case you have doubts on what confidential data to share, state politely when you approach the agencies that you need them to sign an NDA. Don’t overdo it with penalty clauses, just make it right and clear from the start. Sometimes trust can’t be built but with a formal approach.

Pitch Brief PDF

I prepared also a PDF version of the Pitch Brief, with rules of thumb, which are tips I gathered during my work in advertising and marketing.

Download the Pitch Brief in PDF format here.

pitch brief template

Should you pay the agencies that participate in your pitch?

I would say yes in 50% of cases. I’ve been in all kinds of pitches from the agency side.

Some pitches were well organized and we didn’t feel like we should be paid even if we lost, but some looked like creative surveys, with lots of participants and low involvement from the client-side.

Pre-agreement not to use creative work

A first solution to receive better creative proposals is to show that your company is a trophy to fight for. 🙂 For this reason, try to sign a pre-agreement with every agency, guaranteeing that you will not use any of their work unless they win the pitch. 

This way the potential creative partners will see you are a company with principles and they will be extra motivated to win you as their client.

Pay pitch fees

In case you consider that such a pre-agreement isn’t suited for your pitch, then focus first on selecting the best 2-3 agencies and allocate a fee for each of them. This fee should cover a realistic amount of time (minimum 3 days of work, at least 1 account manager + 1 copywriter + 1 art director).

This variant implies more work from your side and an extra cost, but I think it’s the best way to get the Big Idea that you’re looking for.

Interested in a PR agency pitch brief? Check out the article below:

The PR agency pitch and 10 rules for success

Read more about the Client Brief and Creative Brief: