TBEX Speaker Post: Take a Marketing Tip from Major Brands & Write “Creative Briefs”

 

garybembridgeMajor brands working with advertising, PR, or digital agencies to create ads and communication always develop a “creative brief.” This ensures that before they leap into creating new ads, promotions, or activities, they are really clear about exactly what their unique angle and story should be. This is something that every blogger also needs to do before creating a blog post, podcast, or video.

Using the tools and techniques that big brands use to develop their communication can help bloggers to develop more unique and compelling content. In particular, the “creative brief” is used successfully by major brands to ensure they create competitive, cohesive, and convincing ads and communication – all of which can also be useful to determine before writing blog posts, recording podcasts, or creating videos. I also believe using a “creative brief” will revolutionise and simplify content creation for travel bloggers.

For over 30 years I have been working in marketing at multi-nationals like Unilever and Johnson, developing advertising and communication for brands as diverse as Johnson’s Baby, Neutrogena, RoC Anti-age, and Lipton tea. There are tools that I have used that are simple, focused, and yet powerful. I believe that if bloggers started using these tools, it would help them generate even more amazing content.

A passion for travel is not enough to be a great travel content creator. There is so much content available to travellers, you need to ensure you are focused on creating content that will stand out, be compelling, and provide value to travellers.

In my talk at TBEX Toronto, I will be sharing probably the most important tool in marketing – a tool that can help bloggers be more focused and more successful at building a loyal audience, and making themselves more valuable to brands looking to reach those audiences. That tool is the “Positioning Statement.”

Another tool that can be helpful to bloggers, podcasters, and video makers is a “creative brief.”

The creative brief is focused on completing the following sentence:

The objective of this ad is to convince (who?) that (what?) because (the reason they should believe it).

Take this example of Johnson’s baby shampoo, which could be:

The objective of this ad is to convince mothers with young babies who find bath time traumatic, as their baby gets distressed when shampoo suds sting its eyes that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo makes baby hair washing stress-free because it is the only baby shampoo with a patented “No More Tears” formula clinically proven not to sting a baby’s eyes.

This is how that creative brief breaks down:

  • The objective of this ad is to convince (who?)
    • mothers with young babies who find bath time traumatic, as their baby gets distressed when shampoo suds sting its eyes
  • that (what?)
    • Johnson’s Baby Shampoo makes baby hair washing stress-free
  • because (reason to believe)
    • it is the only baby shampoo with a patented “No More Tears” formula clinically proven not to sting a baby’s eyes.

This method could apply to to a blog, podcast, or video. Here is how I approached writing about Rotterdam recently. This is a city about which thousands of people have written, but I wanted to try and ensure I found something to appeal to a specific audience.

Here’s the creative brief:

The objective of this article is to convince travellers with the budget, interested in cruising and thinking of taking a cruise for a special birthday or anniversary that Cunard Queens Grill on Queen Mary 2 is the “first class” way to travel, and should be their first choice for their special cruise experience because unlike other cruise lines, Cunard Queens Mary 2 is a once off and unique ship, the only Ocean Liner (not cruise ship) and the Queens Grill harks back to the glory days of First Class cruise liner travel with priority boarding, an exclusive dining room where you can order off menu, a dedicated lounge with concierge, exclusive restricted access decks, and large suites with Butler service.

And here’s how it breaks down:

  • The objective of this article is to convince (who?)
    • Travellers with the budget, interested in cruising and thinking of taking a cruise for a special birthday or anniversary
  • that (what?)
    • Cunard Queens Grill on Queen Mary 2 is the “first class” way to travel, and should be their first choice for their special cruise experience
  • because (reason to believe)
    • Unlike other cruise lines, Cunard Queens Mary 2 is a once off and unique ship, the only Ocean Liner (not cruise ship) and the Queens Grill harks back to the glory days of First Class cruise liner travel with priority boarding, an exclusive dining room where you can order off menu, a dedicated lounge with concierge, exclusive restricted access decks, and large suites with Butler service

A creative brief forces you to think about who you are writing for, and their unique take on the world. It helps you to focus on what will be important to them, and also forces you to think about what you need to say to make that story convincing. It works for brands about to spend many millions of dollars on making and running ads, so why not see if it can work for your travel content creation, too?

I would love to see examples of your “creative briefs” and the articles, podcasts, and videos that came out of them. Please share them here on the TBEX blog.

Guest Post Author Bio: Gary Bembridge grew up in Zimbabwe, and has been London based since 1987. He has been travelling every month of every year for the last 20 years thanks to his job as a global marketer for Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and now a global brand consultant. He launched Tips For Travellers in 2005 with a podcast and blog to share learning on how to get the most out of every destination he has visited. His Travel Bloggers Podcast was launched in 2013. Gary’s TBEX Toronto session is Write Your Blog Positioning Statement.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the chance to write this post for the blog. Really looking forward to TBEX, and talking there too.\

    The hard part is still trying to decide which sessions to go to, as so many great ones. Luckily for me easy to chose to be at my slot as need to be! Hopefully a lot of others will be there too.

  2. I actually did one of these for the very first edition of The World’s Cheapest Destinations book and have roughly stuck with it through three more editions.

    The objective of this book is to save long-term travelers dozens of hours of research by showing them 21 countries where they can really stretch their budget and worry less about money than they would in expensive places or at home. It does that by providing detailed information on prices travelers will encounter in cheap but attractive destinations and compares those costs to others in the region. It presents information in an enjoyable, conversational writing style that counters objections and provides fun details, such as “what you can get for a buck or less.”

    • Gary Bembridge says:

      Great example!

      Glad to hear how the approach is working for others successfully! The brief has made me want to read the book too by the way !

  3. I’m having a hard time making the transition from ads to articles… you’re trying to ‘convince’ someone to do something…we’re ‘informing’. How does that change the mission in your eyes? I certainly know to cover the W’s, and to give it my own voice, but don’t like my articles to sound like promotions.

  4. Excellent, practical advice. I wish I was attending TBEX this year to attend your live training, but I appreciate this tool. My blog focuses on family, travel, budget (loosely defined as the amount dedicated to a particular trip, not necessarily cheap) and staycations as a tool to achieve travel goals. Using your formula, I should be able to better categorize my posts and write more focused content. Thanks so much!

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