Continuing with the previous analysis and supposing that the best agency has already been found, now it is time to meet the agency to give them the basic information so that they can start work. This is what in our sector we call the briefing, which, as the word indicates, must be brief, although I believe that it should only be brief for the creators and not for the strategists. I prefer to give too much information rather than not enough, even though it might be brief.

A summary of the advertiser, the product, the brand, the previous communication, the competition and above all of the consumer; a summary that should be synthetic, effective, clear and complete. These are the ingredients used by the agency to present the strategy, the creativity and the media. If the customer’s goals require other commercial communication disciplines to be used, we will have to provide the professionals of each discipline with a specific kind of information. In this article, I include the specific briefings of each discipline, although certain concepts might be repeated.

I recommend advertisers to start work with a meeting between the experts of the agency in each discipline, as required by the investment and the campaign: strategy, publicity, media, relational marketing, on-line marketing, promotional marketing and public relations.

If we do not want to leave anything in the air, the necessary information will be:

1.       For developing the strategy.

This briefing is the basis of the whole of the agency’s work. In agr! we have developed a document to rigorously gather this information: this is the infostrategy.

A.- Market

  1. What is the real and potential market volume and the current spread?
  2. How has the market evolved in recent years?
  3. In order of importance, what are the main parameters in this sector for being competitive?
  4. How is the market segmented?
  5. What governmental regulations are to be borne in mind in this market?

B.- Company-Customer

1. What is my market share?

2. How have I evolved in the last four years? Why?

3. What are my principal strengths and weaknesses?

4. What is the most important thing for the company at the present time?

5. What are my marketing goals and strategies?

6. What is my position with respect to the competition in terms of price, quality, service, variety and location?

7. In what are we first, unique or different?

C.- Competition

1. What is the main direct and indirect competition?

2. Which are my most dangerous competitors and why?

3. How has the competition evolved? Why?

4. What are the competition’s principal strengths and weaknesses?

5. What reasons might consumers have for choosing the competition?

6. What are the competition’s goals and strategies?

7. How will they react to our actions?

8. In what way am I different from the main competition?

9. How is the competition positioned in terms of price, quality, service, variety and location?

D.- Consumer

1. What do consumers most appreciate in these kinds of products and services?

2. Who purchases, who decides on the purchase and who prescribes it?

3. What percentage of my customers purchase habitually and sporadically?

4. How can the consumers be segmented?

5. What recent market studies have there been?

D.- Communication

  1. What is the ranking of brand awareness?
  2. What percentage of the market knows my brand?
  3. Of the above, how many have bought my brand?
  4. What image does my brand have in the market?
  5. What is my positioning?
  6. What is the image, notoriety and positioning of the main competition?
  7. What campaigns or actions have been made in the past, with what budget and with what results?
  8. What is the competition doing best and why?
  9. What marketing and communication actions have been done? What has worked most and least well?

2.       For relational marketing.

  1. At the present time, what is the purchase information available for each product category (family, subfamily,..) and since when has it been available in the customer purchase database?
  2. What is the socio-demographic information available for segmenting: percentage of data qualified by fields of information (date of birth, studies, profession, etc…)?
  3. Basic data from the customer base: new, active, inactive, abandonment. How have they done the last segmenting. How have they identified an inactive, an abandonment or a VIP? How has the frequency, regency or the monetary amount being weighted?
  4. What was the contact plan of the last quarter? What rough results can they give us?
  5. Have you used any data-mining tool? Which and what for? Internally or externally?
  6. Are incentive plans or actions carried out with the salespeople in relation to the results of the card? If so, which?
  7. Are you using the in-depth geomarketing information related to the customer database?
  8. Do you have a study of the perception of the image and satisfaction of the brand and the basic attributes of centres where merchandising is sold, collection, service, card..?
  9. Has any incentive program by purchase volume been made in the past?

3.   For media.

1. Principal target.

2. Core target/other audiences.

3. Campaign period.

4. Areas.

5. Seasonality.

6. Campaign pieces believed to be necessary.

7. The competition: what are they like, who they are, what do they do, price policy and market/consumer policy.

8. Precise definition of the product and its attributes.

9. Business/brand/product strategy.

10. Marketing goals/strategy.

11. Communication goals/strategy.

12. Brand positioning.

13. Communication background: historical.

14. Lessons learnt.

15. Environment: market, sector, tendencies, possible new competitors, other data.

16. Media evaluation: Vgr: how the campaign will be assessed, level of response vs. branded.

4. For on-line marketing.

What is your principal objective on the Internet? To generate database? Notoriety? Sales?
What is your target audience? Do you know with what purpose they connect and what pages the most visit?
What is your current on-line presence? Do you have a website? And are you present in the social networks? Have you developed a previous digital communication strategy?
Is your product or service correctly positioned in the main search engines?
Do you know what on-line marketing actions your competition is carrying out?
Do you know what is being said about your brand, company or service on the Internet?
What budget do you have for the actions?

5.       For press office and public relations.

1. What is the background of your external communication?

2. Do you have a consumer market study? And one for positioning?

3. Is there any background in internal communication?

4. Are PR actions carried out such as attendance/organisation of events, fairs, congresses?

5. Is there a spokesperson? Is there a habitual relationship with the media?

Specialised? Local?

6. Are specific actions carried out for the media: presentation of results, press conferences, breakfasts,…?

7. Is there a procedure for crisis communication?

6.       For advertising.

These are the essential elements:


1. Advertiser and product or service.

To provide key data on the company, the category and the product or service and on the main competitors, including details of the communication channel and provision of data on the brand image, describing the principal advantages (real and/or emotional) of the product and comparing it with your competition.


2. Goals of the campaign.

Is it a launch? Of a relaunch or a repositioning? Of a campaign to reinforce a certain marketing goal without changing the positioning?

3. Description of the target audience.

Describe the target audience both from the demographic point of view and, if possible, from its habits and behaviours. Supply data from the investigations made, including information on the product brand awareness and its competition, qualitative data regarding the perception that consumers have of the product before the campaign.

4. Positioning required for the brand.

Once the campaign has been made, how should the consumer perceive the advertised product (what do they know, think and feel)?

5. Priority messages.

List of the messages that have to be communicated by order of priority, accepting that each advertising piece can only communicate one principal message.

6. Timing, planning and budget.

Include a production calendar specifying the date proposed for the agency to make the presentation. Decide whether the campaign is only for the media, whether it includes the point of sale, promotional elements, direct marketing, materials and events for the sales team, public relations, sponsorships, etc. Then indicate the geographic area of the campaign. Whenever possible, clarify whether the campaign must take into account a possible extension to other geographic areas (for example for reasons of copyright). Is the campaign going to be implemented in interactive media?

7. Responsibilities.

Indicate the name of the principal contact of the customer and their availability. The agency must assign a person responsible for the project.

8. Legal and social aspects and other important data.

Must the campaign foresee legal considerations or self-regulation restrictions? Do sensitivities regarding registered trademarks have to be taken into account? Are there ethnic or social sensitivities with this product or in a certain area of distribution? If it is considered to be useful, include cases of successes and/or failures in this category of products, giving the reasons why they have occurred.

9. Additional information of interest.

Any other information will be included that might be relevant for the later work of the agency.