Prepare a creative brief
A social media marketer uses social media platforms and websites to promote a service or product. Marketing is valuable to the organization as a way of providing publicity and garnering public interest. Marketing is also used to promote events and also to maintain the reputation of an organization for an active and engaged audience. Marketers identify their target audiences and understand the company’s vision and goals before creating content. The professional may need to break down the users, audience, or followers by demographic to understand how their product or service is being used and what is valued by those audiences. They consider design elements and tone, too, such as the use of humor and formality. Professionals may also conduct research into competitors to inform their marketing strategy and communication plans.
Additionally, marketers often create short 1-2 page documents called creative briefs that outline the strategy and the design for a campaign or launch. Used by the creative team (in-house or external), it describes the objectives of the project and how to achieve it, and serves as a guide for the creation of new materials. Think of it as a roadmap for the creative team to execute the marketing strategy.
For this exercise, you are a Communications Specialist for a large life science company. You report to the Communications Manager. You work with a member of the in-house creative team, and your team promotes a product of interest on social media. You can pick either an assay kit, a reagent, a specialized instrument, or a software program.
Note: This job sim can be adapted for any sector. You can create a creative brief for a local non-profit or a publishing company or other organization of interest.
The Process for Preparing a Creative Brief for Social Media
- Analyze the social media landscape, including product competitors and target audience. See Task 1 in the Humanities: Social Media Marketing job simulation.
- Determine the overall goal of the social media marketing campaign.
- Create a strategy for content that considers relevance, design, tone, and engagement.
- Identify the phase in the buyer’s journey and determine the desired customer action for the social media campaign.
- Write a positioning statement, briefly describing how the product, service, or brand fills a particular customer need in a way that its competitors don’t.
- Write content tailored to the social media platform.
- Edit the content (either self-edit, or send to a team member or communications manager).
- Conceptualize a visual design for a social media post. The strategy may differ depending on the social media platform.
- Provide creative and technical specifications of the social media visual assets.
Task 1: Determine the phases of the buyer’s journey and desired customer action (step 4 of the process)
Consider the three phases that a customer goes through in their buying journey (see below). For each phase, conceptualize one post that promotes your scientific product. Familiarize yourself with various social media platforms. For example, Instagram is more visual and doesn’t link other pages, and can include “stories.” Twitter posts have character limits, but multiple tweets can be linked using threads.
Three phases that a scientist (your customer in this job simulation) goes through in their buying process:
- Recognition: The scientist recognizes a need or opportunity for value in buying the product/service. In this phase, the company should create brand/product awareness, generate curiosity, and make the scientist realize they’re missing out on potential value by not using the company product/service.
- Investigation: The scientist recognizes they need to make a purchase and explores the available options and approaches. In this phase, the company should educate the scientist about the topic and showcase the company’s thought leadership.
- Assessment: The scientist begins evaluating available options in the marketplace. In this phase, the company should persuade the scientist on why the product/service is better than what the competition offers.
Brainstorm the type of information or resources a buyer might find helpful for each phase: videos; webinars; podcasts; tech tips; conference posters; mini reviews; technical bulletins; brochures; featured publications; eLearning courses; direct-to-sales page; etc.
With each post, consider the desired customer action (e.g., listen now; learn more; buy now).
Task 2: Write the positioning statement and post copy (steps 5 to 7 of the process)
For each post, draft a positioning statement and post copy:
- A positioning statement should clearly describe how the product, service, or brand fills a particular customer need in a way that its competitors don’t.
- A post copy is the caption or text for a social media post, and should include a clickthrough link (i.e. the webpage to which the viewer is redirected after they click on the URL). The link should have an appropriate title and relevant description.
Task 3: Ideate the visualizations for the post (steps 8 and 9 of the process)
Describe the content and design for the visuals. Select the picture, gif, video clip, etc. Describe design elements like logos, graphics, photos, or text. What is the layout? Be as specific as possible for the creative team.
- Specify the visual size, as optimal size specifications will depend on the social media platform
- Specify placement of visual elements (e.g., company logo, real product image)
- If applicable, share photo information such as files or weblinks for the visual. Browse online stock photo libraries such as Unsplash or Pixabay and select suitable photos. If you are unable to identify suitable options, make a note for the creative team and describe your vision for the photo. The creative team may be able to assist you with the photo search or may plan an in-house photoshoot.
- Describe the copy and text effects such as font size, color, and style.
- Optimize the accessibility for individuals with different visual abilities. Provide descriptive captions (or ‘alt-text’), include closed captions for videos, and ensure the visual is color-blind friendly.
Task 4: Putting together the creative brief document
Prepare a 1-2 page social media creative brief for the creative team. It should contain all the information described in Tasks 1 to 3. See sample deliverable for a creative brief template.
- Websites for free stock photography: Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, Nappy
- Sample social media management programs: Sprout Social and HootSuite and others (Forbes summary, 2023). Note that some of these services are paid planning apps that you might use on the job.
- A Look Inside the Scientific Buyers Journey (article from media group): https://acsmediakit.org/blog/how-scientists-buy-a-look-inside-the-scientific-buyers-journey/
- Examples of positioning statements (blog): https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/positioning-statement
- Crafting a Clear, Effective Positioning Statement for Your Life Science Brand (article from marketing group): https://www.formalifesciencemarketing.com/white-papers/crafting-a-clear-effective-positioning-statement/
- Social Media Image Size Guide (article from Sprout Social): https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-image-sizes-guide/
- Inclusive Design for Social Media (article from Hootsuite): https://blog.hootsuite.com/inclusive-design-social-media/
Skills Used to Perform These Tasks
- Writing in an engaging and concise manner
- Strong editing
- Collaboration across functions (communications, design, and leadership)
- Research and analysis
- Strategic thinking
- Understanding and knowledge about brand competitors
Skills Used in This Field
- Writing in different styles and lengths
- Critical and analytical thinking
- Communicating & relationship-building with clients
- Presentation skills
- Time and project management
- Market research
- Business acumen
- Effective writing for technical and non-technical audiences
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Simulation author – Stefanie Mak, Ph.D.
Job simulation vetted by professionals in the communications roles in organizations in the Vancouver, Canada area.