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Three Questions That Matter for any Marketer!

There are three simple but important questions that can positively impact the development of an ad, a brochure, a poster, or virtually any communication. These questions aim to streamline the thought process and amount and type of information to be relayed to a target audience. The questions bring focus to the message and maintain communication priorities. The combined answers are known as a creative brief – used with clients to develop communication or any marketing.

The development of a creative brief is a first priority when Alder & Associates starts work on a project with clients. The brief can eliminate confusion before, during and after the development process. While the questions used to develop the brief are relatively simple, it can take hours to answer them well and bring focus to the development of an ad, brochure or other collateral. And, the brief can mean the difference between a highly successful campaign or one that falls short of goals.

If you’re in the marketing business, you’ve probably used this or a similar method when working with clients. If this is new to you, here are the questions that need to be answered:

What is it? - This is the Identifier. In what manner do we want to be perceived or thought of by the consumer. This question and the following two questions must be answered in a simple, non-run-on sentence. This forces clarity of thought which is essential for the creatives.

How is it different? - This is the Differentiator. How is your product or service different than all of the rest – which “thing” makes it stand out from all others? This is where we as an ad agency assist our clients in honing their responses. For example, “good service” is not a valid differentiator.

What it means to me (the consumer)? - This is often an emotional response to “What’s in it for me?” It could be viewed as the main benefit or at times, might be derived solely from the differentiator. The answer to this question will result in what you’d like your target market to see and appreciate.

A creative brief with a basis of three simple questions. Seems easy enough – but since clients have often struggled to determine which of the many differentiators they believe important and often have difficulty in reaching consensus, you may want to provide these questions well before your first meeting on the project. Once answers have been developed and summarized in a creative brief, the brief is “approved” by all key stakeholders – those who will have a say in reviewing ad concepts, copy, etc.

The creative brief also serves as a “stress test” when reviewing the final material. If the ad or copy meets the brief, then the material is on-target and properly focused... and all will go smoothly from then on. Well, we can hope…

(C) Alder & Associates



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