Brief Yo’Self: What is your Brand’s Headline?

If you’re here, you’re probably acutely aware of the importance of branding – both your personal brand and your business’ brand. A fun and fruitful exercise to get to the heart of any brand is to write a brand brief.
Over 22 years in the advertising industry, I’ve written probably thousands of briefs – for brands, product launches, campaigns, you name it. Every agency has their own approach, and “science” to back it up. Personally, I love Crispin, Porter + Bogusky’s take on the brief. It’s thought-provoking and fun. Following are the key elements to their brief, and my answers as OCDelight.
AT A GLANCE– What is the most relevant and differentiating idea that will surprise consumers or challenge their current thinking of your brand?
My answer: Screw loudmouth, empty-gesturing corporate bro culture – soft skills, organization, and details MATTER. 
TENSION– What is the psychological, social or cultural tension associated with this idea? What makes our target audience tense about the idea?
Cultural truths are ever-changing – and fast, so tensions are everywhere. The most interesting tension should make you uncomfortable. That’s where energy lies.
The loudest voice in the room isn’t always the smartest.
QUESTION– What is the question you need to answer?
The question should release the tension by shifting culture, making it controversial and related to the product truth. If it wouldn’t generate conversation over dinner, it’s not big or provocative enough.
Is it your own damn fault you are ignored, passed over, stolen from, condescended to, or otherwise not valued at work or at home?
TALK VALUE– What about my brand could help to start a dialogue between our brand and our audience and/or within pop culture?
I create a space for people who are into detail, who put their heads down and actually get the f*cking work done and love to make things move efficiently so that they are able to leverage these strengths and succeed.
This style of brand brief is all about picking tensions in the culture that your brand can contribute to or begin a cultural conversation around.
Another funky CPB fact is that creative ideas at their agency are frequently presented back as news headlines or press releases. Getting talked about in culture is an unfair business advantage and what brands are constantly searching for in the social age. So write your own headlines – what are your best and worst possible headlines about your brand? Write them down, it’s liberating!
  • Detail-oriented introverts are running the world.
  • Workflows everywhere are optimally efficient – allowing makers to make.
  • In 2018, “hepeating” and “mansplaining” are extinct concepts.
  • Over 50% of 2020 college graduates are going on to launch their own businesses.
  • The “dude-bros” win – In 2020, 100% of CEOs and business owners are male.
  • Attention-to-detail considered a feminine “soft skill” and no longer valued in the workplace.
  • Interrupting and taking up physical space are clear signs of intelligence and power. 
  • Chaos is king – creative talent inextricably linked to procrastination and disorganization.


And after all is done, do share your brief with me:

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