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How to break down a brief

We need briefs, but they can be a bit overwhelming. To fend off the fear, we've got a four-step exercise to help you break them down.

How to Break Down a Brief

Step 1: Five minutes

Take that brief in hand, and get a highlighter ready.

Read all the information it has to offer. Think about what the really essential points are, what specific words communicate and the key pieces of info that jump out. Highlight them.

There's probably a lot there, and probably A LOT of words flying around. So now you’re going to break down the brief into just 16 words. These 16 words should communicate what the brief is asking you to do. Imagine you're giving this to someone instead of the full brief. How can you get them to understand what the task is? Switch up the sentences you've highlighted, pull in your key words/phrases or just write a new 16-word brief from scratch.

Step 2: Two minutes

Now you have your 16 words, really think again about what the crucial points are. How many words could you shave and still communicate what the brief is asking? Could you get rid of 8 words? Ok. Do it. The brief in 8 words. Rearrange the ones you have, or use 8 new words or mix it up.

Step 3: One minute

You've got it down to the bare bones now, right? Those 8 words are all gold and all completely vital. But which could you do without? Could you do without another 4? Try and get it down to just 4 words. Remember, you're trying to communicate as much of the information from the full brief as possible. Say a lot, in a little. 

Step 4: One minute

What next? You guessed it. Halve it again. 2 words. Go.

Nailed it

And there you have it. Your whole brief squished into just two words.

This exercise will help you find what's at the heart of the task. Now, it'd be silly to actually go by two words when there's a whole wealth of info sitting there in the full brief. But, all those other words will seem like a luxury now. As you start developing your ideas, remember to stay true to your two words. Keep referring back to them, are you getting those two things across? 

You can always tweet us @DandADNewBlood. Show us what you've got. Show us your ideas. Show off. We'll show you some love. 

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