Choose an existing product, service, brand, or message that interests you and has potential to sell better if it had a new advertising campaign. Write a creative brief to be used as a strategy for developing ads. The creative brief includes a description of a buyer persona (fake person to represent the target audience). Determine the target audience based on product features, related sales data, or market research. Describe at least one main benefit of the product or service or message. Use any app (Word, Photoshop, etc) to set up your assignment document. Include the sponsor’s logo, an image of the product (or other relevant image), and a photo of someone who represents your target audience (the fake buyer or recipient of the future ad message). Answer the 6 required questions in a structured layout with clear and obvious categories or sections. Make a PDF copy of your completed file to submit to both the Discussion and Assignment pages. Provide feedback on 2 other student’s projects.
Past Student Examples of Creative Briefs:
Answer these Questions in your Assignment:
- Target Audience:
Who will your ads be talking to? Who needs these services, items, or messages?
- Current Position
What does your target audience currently think about the item, company, products, or topic? Is there any current brand recognition? Has awareness or needs changed since the product was first launched?
- Reinforce the Current Position? Or, Reposition? (Choose one):
What do you want your target audience to think? Is it the same as #2 or different? Are you reinforcing the message or brand vibe that is already out there? Or, are you pushing to change the public’s view on this item or topic because you have good reasons.
How will the people (target audience) who will see your future ads based on the position you stated in #3 benefit from the message or product? How will your advertising strategy change or strengthen what people think?
- Message or Guiding Principle:
What is the main thing you want to communicate in the future ads that follow this creative brief? Is there a secondary message? If so, what?
- Buyer Persona:
Create a fictional representation of your ideal target buyer and describe their current situation. Include demographics, income, preferences, habits, and any challenges they are facing that could be solved with buying or reading about the product or service you are promoting in this project. Do not mention the specific product or service in this section of the creative brief. Instead, use this category to demonstrate a problem that the ad recipient has. Assume this buyer (or recipient) does not use your product or service, or that they have a mistaken view about it. This buyer is a typical example of a person whose life would be improved if they listen to the message that will be delivered to them through ads that will be created based on this creative brief. In other words, describe a fake person who is a prime example of someone who would benefit by the ad message.
NOTE: Please write complete sentences in your creative brief. This is a WII (Writing Level 2) course. Full sentences demonstrate writing ability and are easier to understand by the audience.
What is a Creative Brief?
A creative brief guides the development of a big idea or concept for advertising a product/service/brand/message based on consumer insights. An advertising agency will develop a creative brief in partnership with its client prior to the creation of a new ad campaign. A creative brief helps to position the product within a consumer group in the minds of ad writers and graphic designers. It describes the uniqueness or advantage of the product as compared to similar products or to fill a need that exists in the marketplace.
Professional Examples of Creative Briefs:
The target audience is never “everyone.” Even if everyone could conceivably make use of the product or idea, a focused target audience is necessary to communicate effectively. By determining a target audience, a message can be tailored to appeal specifically to that group to ensure that it is striking a chord with them and ultimately gains their attention.
For example, at the beginning of the 2012 Olympics in London, Nike unleashed its ‘Find Your Greatness’ ads. The aim of the campaign was to promote aspirations of being an athlete to all people regardless of their physical capabilities. This ad strategy was developed because consumer insight data showed Nike that the majority of their target audience were not professional athletes. Instead, they were people who strived to be like a professional athlete. The campaign, therefore, was aimed at those who aimed to achieve their own personal greatness, even if they weren’t a top-level athlete. The inspiring message greatly appealed to the intended audience. This contrasted Nike’s previous approach to heavily target only the pros. (https://www.cmnty.com/blog/examples-how-to-use-consumer-insights/(Links to an external site.)
It’s also important to clarify that it’s okay to come up with separate advertising campaigns for each segment or target audience. In fact, it’s downright necessary when working with multiple groups or segments. Generalized campaign strategies aren’t effective with multiple consumer groups and they waste valuable time and resources. (https://www.lotame.com/finding-target-audience/ (Links to an external site.))
What’s the significance of a Buyer Persona?
“One way to better approach your audience is to conceptualize its members in a way that makes them more real for you. Some… refer to this as the personification of the audience.” (Part 1, p4, Dynamics of Media Writing, Vincent Filak)
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal customer based on market research and real data about existing customers. Learning about an ideal customer — their challenges, goals, traits — helps set an advertising strategy aimed at attracting valuable visitors, leads, or customers. (https://www.hubspot.com/make-my-persona (Links to an external site.))
Consumer insights are real truths about customers. They’re gathered from data on human behaviors and perceptions. Businesses use these insights to identify the needs of their target audience, specifically, how and why they shop or conduct business. Consumer insights help brands to create the right message for the right audience for mutual benefit, placing it where it will cut through.
There are obtrusive and unobtrusive ways of doing consumer research. You can conduct surveys or invite consumers to participate in focus groups and have them share their experiences with each other. Or, you can read what they freely provide online in social media. Some people love to publicly share their experiences, good or bad, with products.
To learn more about how several successful ad campaigns were inspired by powerful consumer insights, go to: https://blog.globalwebindex.com/marketing/powerful-consumer-insights/ (Links to an external site.)
Utilizing Marketing Research:
Marketing research is unfortunately usually proprietary and not freely available. It can be used to identify segments among users of a product category who are statistically more likely to be “heavy users” of that product. These statistics usually take the form of indexed scores, where 100 equals average levels of use, 120 equals 20% more likely to use, and 80 equals 20% less likely to use. Take the product category “packaged pudding” for example. The chart below identifies the groups most and least likely to be heavy users.
Topping the heavy user category at 171 are mid/upscale suburban dwellers, ages 35-54, with kids. At the bottom is downscale rural, ages 55-64. How do you explain these facts? Who is more likely to pay extra for the convenience of pudding in a plastic cup instead of making it from a packaged recipe?
In most marketing or advertising campaigns, the dominant target will be the groups indexing highest as heavy users. A rule of thumb is that 80% of your profits come from 20% of your users. Is there any reason to target downscale rural consumers 55-64 with packaged pudding ads? Not really. Ads are not powerful enough to convince all consumer groups to buy more packaged pudding. Lifestyle and income are important factors in determining a target audience. At the same time, it can be profitable to avoid the brand war being waged for the heavy users if you can identify a niche that is large enough to be viable. It’s okay to not focus on heavy users, as long as there are good reasons for aiming a campaign at a particular target audience.
Targeted advertising is a form of online advertising that focuses on the specific traits, interests, and preferences of a consumer. Advertisers discover this information by tracking our activity on the Internet. Advertisers have adapted to our digital viewing habits by remembering what we read and buy online, then using this information to sell us things they think we might like.
(https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/thenow/what-is-targeted-advertising/1/ (Links to an external site.))
Once a target audience is identified, it is easier to make decisions on where to place advertisements. If a campaign is specifically targeting women in their 20’s, ads don’t need to be placed on EVERY site. Choosing to advertise only on those sites that resonate with the specific audience is a successful “targeted audience” practice. Doing this saves money and achieves a better ROI (return on investment).
The main demographic categories typically used to determine target audiences and market segments are: age, gender, income, occupation, education level, marital/family status, geographic region, and ethnicity. These are relatively objective facts about people that can be collected from census data. And their use can be fairly good at predicting who are heavy users of particular product categories. Here are some interesting demographic facts:
- Tequila drinkers who are 18-24 years old index at 168 while 65+ year olds index at 33.
- Scotch drinkers who are 18-24 years old index at 71 while 45-54 year olds index at 133.
- Cruise ships tend to be more heavily used by 45-54 year olds (128 index) than 18-24 year olds (61 index).
- People in technical/clerical jobs tend to watch more movies (121 index) than those in precision/craft positions (89 index). While precision/craft folk like archery (221 index) more than anyone else.
- If you have graduated college, you are more likely to be a heavy user of soy sauce (124 index) than if you did not graduate high school (73 index). You are also much less likely to use a lot of hydrogenated vegetable shortening (Crisco) in cooking.
- People residing in the North Central and Southern parts of the US are more likely to hunt with rifles (118 index) than people on the East (80 index) and West (69 index) coasts.
- Consumers in the East are more likely to consume a lot of imported wine (144 index) than consumers in the West (80 index).
Sometimes, advertisers read too much into demographics. Think about age, for example. Does your actual age determine what you buy or is it how old you feel that makes the difference? The Honda Element is a classic case in which presumptions about age caused a marketing crisis. The Honda Element was a boxy car that was priced and designed to appeal to young first-time car buyers. But middle-aged women bought them in large numbers. Why? Perhaps it was simply a convenient car (it could be hosed out) or perhaps it was an expression of resistance to being perceived as old. In any case, it was a huge surprise for Honda and one that had the potential to hurt their profits because middle aged consumers can usually afford more expensive cars.
While chronological age (your actual age) is a demographic category, “cognitive age” (how old you feel) is more of a psychographic category. Chronological age is easier to measure and obtain so it is more commonly used, but cognitive age is probably a better predictor of purchase behavior. It is worth doing psychographic-based marketing research for this reason.
There are a variety of psychographic categorization schemes. Some are based on placing consumers in groups such as the VALS (Values and Life Style) scale. Others categorize consumers and their motivations when it comes to particular product categories or particular value systems like “environmental orientation” or “health consciousness”. The VALS scheme (see diagram below) is based on two dimensions: resources (income/education level) and basic orientation toward life.
At the top of the VALS diagram are self-actualizers. They have enough resources to transcend the categories. At the bottom are strugglers. They don’t have enough resources to express their values. In the middle, though, are two tiers separated by the basic orientations of “principles,” “status,” and “activity.” For the folks on the left, life is about principles, whether that is religion (“believers”) or culture (“fulfilleds”). For the folks in the middle, life is about status, whether it’s already happened (“achievers”) or yet to come (“strivers”). For the folks on the right, life is about doing things, whether building things (“makers”) or going places (“experiencers”).
Using Psychographics as Consumer Insights:
The UK mobile company, Three, won an award for their ‘Holiday Spam’ ad campaign. Inspired by genuine insight into people’s behavior while on holiday, the campaign hinged on the knowledge that certain people love to brag. Three ran an offer that allowed customers to use their phones abroad at no extra cost. The campaign featured a series of 60-second TV ads showing travelers sending clichéd holiday photos to friends and family members back home. Tracking the mobile data usage of a group of customers abroad, they found that they used 71 times the amount of data they would have used had they been charged as normal – most of which was used to post holiday snaps on social media. The ad team tapped into this finding, warning UK viewers to expect an onslaught of ‘holiday spam’ photos, thanks to the new offer. This is a prime example of marketing that works driven by insights. Using this insight to drive awareness of a unique proposition and appeal to the emotions of a target consumers, the campaign led to a 90% increase in Three’s social conversation volume, higher brand metrics, and customers saving a collective £2.7bn on roaming charges. (https://blog.globalwebindex.com/marketing/powerful-consumer-insights/ (Links to an external site.))
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1. Read this entire page
Read this Assignment Page to gain knowledge about creative briefs, target audiences, and consumer insights.
2. Select a topic for your creative brief
Decide what product, service, brand, or message you want to promote. It’s pretty wide open and up to you. However, you will be working with this same topic for the remainder of the semester. So, it’s best if you like, relate to, or have an affinity with the subject of your creative brief because this will be the subject of the ads you develop in the next assignment.
The focus of your creative brief can be on selling a particular car, fighting climate change, increasing listenership for a podcast, etc. Research the item or subject to become familiar with its attributes, existing market niches, and other qualities or purposes. You can also check out any previous ads or articles about the subject to get a sense of the company’s or organization’s goals and their historical or existing advertising approaches as well as target audiences.
3. Create a file in any app
Use any app you want to create your creative brief document. Decide on a page layout or graphic design to display all the creative brief categories on on page. You can re-title the sections of the brief as long as all of the 6 required questions are answered. Place or paste the logo of the sponsor or brand of your product, service, or message in a page (letter or tabloid size at 300 ppi). Also, include an image of the product or other relevant picture to represent the subject of the creative brief. In addition, add a photo of a person that matches or represents your target audience. For consumer insights, you will have to either rely on your own logic and knowledge, or do some research to determine (identify) and understand a particular target audience. Do the best you can with what you can find. You can also rely somewhat on your instincts, observations, and current knowledge (or information gleaned from other courses you have taken).
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