← Briefing 101
Deep dives
Finishing touches

How to brief an agency 📣

Ewan Patel
Co-founder & CSO

Well, you’ve done it. Your brief is *chef’s kiss* perfect.

(If you haven't written your brief yet, you'll be looking for our guide on 'How to write the perfect marketing brief'.)

It’s concise, it’s focused, it’s strategically sound.

But the job isn’t quite finished.

Now is the time for your flourish - the briefing itself. This is where you get to tell the story of your brief.

Where you get your agency inspired and excited. Where a brief goes from great to legendary.

How to brief an agency


Yes, we hear your groans.

Hardly anyone likes an interactive meeting. No one likes an interactive Zoom call.

But it’s important that you get your agency involved in the process, and get them to see this brief the way you see it.

So what can you do to make your brief more interactive? Take inspiration from this famous example...

A marketer at a drinks company took their agency out to play basketball. They played for hours, and when they were done, the marketer said, “This is what it feels like to be thirsty."

Finding a way to put the agency into the exact need-state and consumption moment that they were trying to design comms for was an ingenious move. It turns a briefing into an experience - something you can feel rather than just understand.

There’s a very tangible benefit to doing this - your agency will have their own thoughts on the brief. At some point, you will be co-creating the brief and its outputs. So you need to start on the same page.

In-person wins every time

We know that the world has changed, and not every meeting can be face to face. But the most important ones should be. This is an easy win for you to be able to raise the energy levels in the room, socialise and take the briefing away from a formal event and closer to a well-rounded, richer conversation.

Tell your story

You’re a marketer. You’re a creative person. You may not be “a creative” who builds ideas for advertising, but you have the tools you need to tell a story. So tell it.

Talk about the process of writing the brief - what was difficult about it? It’s likely that if you found your key messages difficult to wrestle with, for example, your agency will wrestle with them too.

Talk about an analogy - when you’re delivering your briefing, you don’t need to be literal. You need people to feel and understand, not just know, your problem (which you should be very clear on, right!?). Be wary about marketing jargon here, but anything you can do to better illustrate the challenge, your audience, or your brief more broadly will go a long way.

Step back

Lastly, try not to over-brief. Yes, add as much colour and interest to your briefing as possible, but leave space for creative ideas to grow. Your job is to inspire, not dictate.

Include (and re-state) your budgets, your expectations, your deliverables and your next steps (in other words, get the admin right). Keep your agency on track before you let them off the reins.

And... if you've made it this far (through the entire Briefing 101 gauntlet), we hope your campaign does justice to the work you've put in to crafting your brief.

If you found our guide helpful, share it on with a friend 👯

Of course, if you want to make writing a great brief easy, you can always try Briefly 🌱