How to Draft a Creative Brief that Inspires the Crowd

Michael Burlin
June 14, 2011 — 1,761 views  
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Increasingly, creative crowdsourcing has proved to be an effective marketing approach to generating fresh and engaging ideas.

At Zooppa, we’ve run successful campaigns with major brands including Kraft Foods, Samsung, Nike and AT&T and agencies including Razorfish, Leo Burnett, Mindshare and BBDO. Through these campaigns, brands and agencies have awarded over $1.3 million in cash awards worldwide and received compelling creative work from 43 U.S. states and countries including Brazil, Germany, Japan, Russia and South Africa.

However you gauge creative crowdsourcing success, the space has grown more sophisticated over the past few years. But despite the many formulas and methods, brands succeed at crowdsourcing when they recognize the value of opening their brand’s messaging to the crowd, while taking full advantage of the key element that they do have control over – the creative brief.

While creative crowdsourcing briefs may not be as comprehensive as the guidelines passed between brand managers and their agency counterparts, successful crowdsourcing briefs are a far cry from an open-ended question asked on the social Web.

Based on managing nearly 200 successful creative crowdsourcing projects, Zooppa would like to pass along three key recommendations for drafting a creative brief that successfully inspires the crowd:

1. Design your brief to be aspirational, not technical. As stakeholders in brands’ or campaigns’ success, marketers may feel compelled to list a litany of requirements or technical specifications for participants to abide by when submitting. While it’s important to ensure submissions remain on-brand, ask yourself “What elements are absolutely necessary?” Then simplify and try to remove anything that could inhibit your fans and other creative minds from participating. Based on our previous experience, briefs that were purposefully as accessible as possible receive the richest content. Remember: the brief functions to inspire the crowd, not just to explain and drown them in particulars.

2. Evoke tension to challenge the crowd. What’s the game-changing context of your campaign? What specific everyday problem does your brand solve for consumers and businesses? Is your brand a challenger in a new or existing market? Tightly focusing on a theme characterized by tension can do wonders to help your campaign achieve results. Introducing an element of conflict can make your brand more accessible and can serve as a creative catalyst to members of the crowd who are not full-time creative professionals.

3. Reflect existing social conversations. Brands achieving creative crowdsourcing success acutely understand their brand’s unique social voice and character. They recognize that campaign submissions are extensions of conversations that are already happening on the social web. So when you’re designing your brief, consult your social media assets to identify these conversations and use them as guideposts so you can provide an easy creative outlet to those who are already engaged with your brand online.

The premise of creative crowdsourcing offers brands an exciting opportunity to engage with their social audiences, but a well-thought out creative brief that is aspirational, accessible and written in your brand’s social voice will help ensure that your campaign will produce outstanding results.

See examples of creative crowdsourcing briefs on Zooppa’s website here.
To learn more about Zooppa and our crowdsourcing approach, download our new white paper here or contact me to schedule a private webinar for your team.
Michael is the Marketing Manager for Zooppa, the world’s leading source of user-generated advertising.

Article originally posted on "All Things WOM"

Michael Burlin


Michael is the Marketing Manager at Zooppa.