I write my own briefs. Sometimes it’s because there isn’t one. Usually it’s because the brief I’m given is full of holes. It doesn’t tell me enough about the target audience, what their problems are and how the product I’m selling is going to solve them.
Of course that requires meetings with the client, researching the target market and coming up with a promise that’s relevant to the audience. Ideally the client and agency (including the creative director) have signed off on it before the creative work begins. But that hasn’t happened for me in years.
The good creative briefs started disappearing when I worked for a digital agency (back when there was a divide between traditional and digital). Part of the problem then was the account execs were inexperienced and poorly trained. And there was no planner. Briefs were copied and pasted from previous briefs. So I had to do the account executive’s job before I could do mine.
Most of the time I was guessing. Often I wouldn’t get clear direction from the client until after she’d seen the first round of creative work. It’s an inefficient way to work. As Lincoln said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” He would’ve made a good CD.