What is a Project Brief? (Part 1)

March 5, 2020

written by
Barbara O Stephenson

A project brief is a baseline document that outlines requirements and existing paradigms for projects.

The goal of the document is to quickly create a level playing field across all participants when using vendors or outlining boundaries with internal teams. After we sign a project and are covered under an NDA, the next step in a process is understanding the project goals and functionality requirements- aka the project brief. We will start off with a basic list of the sections and why we ask for them at 300FeetOut. 

1. General Information

The first part of the brief should be simple- just the facts ma’am. Basic information about the company, project, people, and schedules. What purpose does the company serve? What are the core business strategy and goals? The following are some questions that should start a project’s general information:

  • What is the name of your company?
  • Who are the primary contacts from your organization? Who has final sign-off?
  • How long do you need for approvals?
  • Are there any outside considerations that might affect a schedule such as vacations, closures, presentations, conferences, etc.?
  • What is your business strategy and how does this project tie into it? Do you have set goals, requirements, or milestones? What are they?

2. The Brand

This is how you express your company internally and externally. Do you have an idea of core values, shared vision, or personality traits? If your team isn’t aligned here, then the outcome of the project is already in jeopardy. What if your CEO thinks that your vision is to help the public and but your CFO says it’s just to provide tools? While a project brief can’t replace therapy, it does help to keep things running more smoothly if we’re actively managing differentiating viewpoints. 

  • Please provide a short company overview.
  • What are the top 3-5 compelling reasons to engage with you? Please list in order of importance.
  • What is your brand vision? This is the single intangible attribute that differentiates your brand from your comp set, in other words the essence or “soul” of your brand.
  • What are your core brand values? These are the internal guiding principles that dictate behavior and help you determine you are on the right path and fulfilling your brand vision. No more than 5 and no less than 3. (example: people first or be sustainable)
  • What is your brand personality? These are the characteristics of the truth of your band which is primarily delivered through visual expression, voice and tone. (example: strong, strategic, flawless)
  • What is your brand positioning/ messaging /tagline? This is the way you want your audience to think and feel about your brand. Most importantly, it communicates how you differentiate yourself in the market.

3. Competition

There is a good reason why we don’t place this in the first set of questions where we’re gathering hard facts. It allows us to rationally review your industry placement against your peers without jaded preconceptions, it’s one the advantages of using an agency that isn’t siloed in one space. While insider knowledge is very important, multiple opinions help quickly familiarize people outside of your business with your industry.

  • Who are your main competitors?
  • Who do you want to compete with (aspirational)?
  • What makes you different from other competitor’s programs? Think of this both locally and globally.
  • List/ show any industry campaigns/ logos/ branding you find compelling. What specifically do you like about these campaigns? What do you think falls flat or is inauthentic?
  • On a scale of 1 (conservative) to 10 (far out) where do you want your campaign to be compared to your comp set? Please use examples and does not need to be industry specific. 

These are the first 3 points that you should consider to better understand clients and their goals. Keep an eye out for our next post where we’ll review the next few sections on brand expression and storytelling via content strategy