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21 Bennett’s Hill,
B2 5QP

The 3 characteristics of a brilliant creative brief

A wise pal once told me he always thinks of a creative brief as if he’s standing on the edge of a river. His objective is to get to the opposite river bank, but he doesn’t know how to get there without getting wet.

He’s scared of boats, so his only way across is to build a bridge.

Problem is, he sucks at building bridges. He lacks the tools, the experience and – crucially – the creativity to figure out how to build the bridge that will get him over to the other side.

To get across, he needs other people who do possess the necessary skills.

So he enlists his companions and imparts the knowledge he has in a clear, coherent and inspirational way so that everyone knows what’s expected of them and the parameters within which they’re expected to work.

Lo and behold, he gets across the river without touching a drop of water.

Great story, but what’s it got to do with creative briefs?

The creative brief is a standard tool of our trade, and is used to communicate our client’s needs to the creative team.

It’s crucial because for a project to be successful, everyone needs to be on the same page with no misunderstandings and no time wasted.

Just like in the bridge-building metaphor, there are three things which make a brilliant creative brief.

1. Clarity

It’s really important to clearly state what the problem is that we’re trying to solve. Bravissimo wanted to reach a younger audience. Kaspersky wanted to showcase their new proposition through storytelling. MG wanted to change brand perceptions with a new model launch.

In the bridge metaphor, the goal is simply “I want to get to the other side of the river”.

Without this clarity, chaos will reign and the ideas the team produces will lack the single mindedness that separates a brilliant creative solution from a crap one.

2. Brevity

A brief is called a brief because it should be brief.

Overloading the creative team with loads of unnecessary information or pages of waffle-bollocks will inevitably reduce the clarity of the brief – and I’ve just explained where that will lead.

So the brief-writer’s job is to boil everything down to it’s simplest form, removing anything that distracts from the task in front of the creative team.

What you leave out is as important as what you put into a brief. As a rule of thumb, a brief should never be more than 2 pages long at the very most (Don Draper would probably slap me for writing that, in his day a brief was never more than a page long).

If you need more than that to get the info across, it’s time to take something out.

3. Inspiration

Over the course of my career I’ve seen a shift towards the perception that the creative brief is a form to be filled in.

Newsflash: It definitely isn’t.

A brilliant creative brief will inspire the recipient of the brief to think bigger, more originally, more creatively about the solution.

That inspiration can come from all sorts of places, from the physical location you deliver the brief (I once briefed a team on a bleach product in a toilet!) to references you put in the brief, to the way the brief is written and delivered verbally.

Whichever ways you choose to inspire the team, the rewards are obvious: your brief will get a greater share of the creatives’ headspace, you’ll send them a psychological signal about the kind of answers you’re looking for and you’ll offer a better environment for free thinking to flourish.

There’s more of course…

Alongside these three traits, a good creative brief will give insights on the target audience, the budget & time available and so much more.

But if you can weave clarity, brevity and inspiration into your briefs, you’ll undoubtedly get some brilliant work as a result.

How to launch a startup without spending millions

Over recent years we’ve had the privilege of working with a number of great startups.

From Florena Fermented Skincare, backed by the giant Beiersdorf brand, to DrinkTG who we helped on their journey from a kitchen table to the shelves of Tesco & Asda, we’ve helped burgeoning businesses to grow and flourish with great pride.

One thing all these businesses have in common is their profound ambition.

The founders truly believe they’ve come up with the next Gymshark, Uber or AirBnb and dedicate their lives to growing their businesses.

But a lot of the time, the marketing budget available doesn’t quite tally with the scale of their ambitions. That’s not a negative, it’s a statement of fact when there are millions of things to invest in from premises to people, R&D to tech.

As a business with many of the same investment conundrums, we get it.

So how do you get maximum bang for your buck as a startup?

The keyword we use when talking to startups is realism.

While you can spend tens of thousands of pounds on marketing activity that doesn’t have a direct impact on sales, in the early days do you really need to?

Realistically, probably not – although the investments you make ahead of launch are fundamental to the future success of your brand, so I’m not suggesting for one second that it should be done on the cheap or by a random on

If you hire a smart agency (one that knows what it’s doing, doesn’t take the piss and genuinely wants to help) getting the marketing basics that you need to launch can be done much more efficiently.

So based on some recent conversations we’ve been having with a very exciting startup, here’s how we’d recommend getting your marketing off the ground.


There’s no need to go for expensive software here. Open source systems like WordPress or low-cost tools like Craft will do a great job and almost certainly stand the test of time. If budgets are really tight and you can’t stretch to a bespoke look & feel, grab an off the shelf style from Themeforest to get started. It won’t have the same degree of personalisation but it’ll do a great job in the short term. After all, not everyone can go for a Saville Row suit – most of us go to Next!


Off the shelf is the way to go here too. Shopify is just one of many platforms that offers low cost SaaS-based options that will get your store open in no time. It might even be possible to start by selling directly through social channels on Meta & TikTok or via 3rd party merchants like Etsy and Amazon – but watch out for their transaction fees!


When the big dogs carry out a rebrand, sensationalist headlines like “BT spends £30m on new logo” tend to follow.

But the bill is only that much because they have thousands of vans, uniforms, offices and documents to refresh (and the fact they choose big, expensive networked agencies to do the work).

Startups don’t have to operate with those parameters, so the costs can be much lower. We are currently working on branding for a startup which has the not-so-hefty price tag of £5,100 for a selection of logos, colour palette, typography and business card designs.

Social media

Again this is not an area where you need to over-think: The startup’s mantra of “Fail fast” is the name of the game.

Experiment with different channels, see what type of content works for your audience and which platforms deliver the best results.

Which leads me nicely on to one key element of your social media plan – KPIs. As my recent exploits on LinkedIn showed, simply getting impressions isn’t usually enough. So set clear and realistic KPIs that you can measure against each week / month / quarter to make your strategic decisions.

A whistle-stop tour

That’s just a quick brain-fart of thoughts and considerations around startup marketing.

Regardless of the stage of your business or brand, marketing investment decisions are complex and multi-faceted – it’s important not to over-think them but also not to take them lightly.

If you need an outside point of view, give us a shout.

You want proof that we turn giants into titans? You got it.

Here at G&T our proposition is simple:

We help giants move forward through agile, exhilarating and effective comms, turning them into titans of their category.

Put another way, we exist to make a tangible difference to brands and businesses.

That’s a fairly bold claim, so we’re often asked to demonstrate what we mean by it.

A case in point

Over the course of this year we’ve been working with a global megabrand to transform the performance of their Direct to Consumer online store.

While the store was performing very well, the team felt it was capable of much more.

So they asked us to enhance it with the goal of improving all of the key performance indicators.

Like all of the best plans, the starting point was to review the current situation in order to find the opportunities.

We identified a few areas for immediate improvement:

1. The style of the visual content was inconsistent, both from page to page and also within the all-important product detail pages.

2. Killer content like reviews were not being used to the max.

3. Visitors to the site weren’t being shown information that would influence their purchase decision in an order that made sense psychologically.

4. There was no alignment between the social media ads that were sending people to the product pages and the content they then found on those pages – again an important behavioural consideration (the human brain loves consistency and is freaked out by anything that makes it wonder “Am I in the right place?”)

Then we got to work creating a smorgasbord of new imagery, starting with the top selling products.

We added reviews alongside products, created snappy new headlines, shot some products in our mini-studio (which is super-cost effective BTW) and generally pepped up the imagery across the site.

And at the same time, we created a suite of social ads with a consistent look & feel so that the buyer journey from Facebook or Instagram through to the eShop was seamless and felt familiar to people.

The results

The revamp had an immediate impact:

47% increase in conversion rate

More of the people who visited the page went on to buy something.


12% increase in average order value

Visitors spent more money as a result of the changes we made.


7% net sales increase

Across the board, sales went up.


At the top of this post I said that we exist to make a tangible difference to brands and businesses. These kind of results are exactly what that means.

Humble brag. Our clients love us!

As many of us know, asking “how was it for you” is a BIG question.

The answer can cause egos to swell massively.

Or for hearts to sink beyond repair.

So when we ask our clients what it’s like to work with G&T, the confidence we have in our work and the effort we put into delighting every single client gets put to one side and tiny beads of sweat inevitably start to form on our foreheads.

But fortunately for us, the results are brilliant.

The scores on the doors

We ask our clients to rate us on a number of criteria that matter most, from creativity through to client service.

Here’s how we stack up:


Overall score: 9.1 out of 10

The average of averages, making us one of the top rated agencies in Birmingham.


Client service: 9.6 out of 10

We’re really proud of this rating. As a boutique agency, great service is baked into our core which is why it was so cool when Sarah from Beiersdorf said “They provide far better service than I have experienced from much larger, global agencies.”


Creativity & innovation: 9.3 out of 10

This is kinda important when you’re a creative, digital & social agency. Our case studies show the breadth of our creative thinking but it’s also great when senior marketers at a prestigious brand like Penhaligon’s says stuff like “The initial ideas G&T presented blew us away and the final work was even stronger! We love the attention to detail and the way the team understood our brand personality from day one.”


Effectiveness: 9.1 out of 10

As David Ogilvy said: “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative”. We never forget that our work has to deliver results, so to score 9.1 out of 10 for effectiveness makes us really happy. And we were really chuffed when Alex from SWPS said “I’m not exaggerating when I say that the work you have done has transformed our brand. Every key metric has improved and the feedback we are receiving is exemplary.”


Value for money: 9.4 out of 10

We will never be the cheapest agency – the quality of our work and skill of our team is too high for that – but the combination of capability, experience, passion and creativity that we offer at extremely competitive cost means that we offer unbeatable value for money. Indeed Rob at Kaspersky said “Their quality is comparable with bigger agencies… pound for pound, they’re truly Giants & Titans.”


On time & budget: 9.6 out of 10

None of the above matters if the work is delivered late and runs over budget, so our high score here is something we protect fiercely. But don’t just take our word for it, check this out from Darren at SuperYacht Content: “They work very quickly to ensure that deadlines are met and their communication is always on-point and clear. In 6 years, they’ve never let me down.”


Instead of giving ourselves a pat on the back and lighting the cigars, we’ll keep on striving for even better scores next time around by delivering brilliant work, outstanding results and exemplary service to every single client we have the privilege of partnering with.

Get in touch if you’d like that to be you.