Structure of the media brief
At the beginning of the whole process of the media strategy preparation is the media brief. The media brief is as old, as media campaigns themselves, and partially the same, and partially different from Advertising Brief, which is being prepared by advertisers for their creative and communication agencies. Both of them, as well as other types of briefs, are described by AKA, Association of Communication Agencies in the Czech Republic, on its web.
The client – advertiser, has to brief its media agency for the new upcoming campaign. A media brief is usually prepared by a media manager in huge global companies, or by a brand manager in mid-size, smaller, or local companies. The proper media brief is a very important element in the whole process of the media strategy preparation and should be prepared in written form, covering all relevant details. A media brief should be prepared on time, ideally, 2 – 4 months prior the start of the campaign, when it depends on the actual situation. A MEDIA BRIEF should, ideally, be discussed between the client and its media agency face-to-face, in the form of a brainstorming session, covering questions and answers. If the MEDIA BRIEF is sent to the media agency, without any meeting, we cannot expect the best media strategy proposal at all.
After the briefing session, the client service manager or media planner from the media agency is responsible to brief other colleagues from the team. Mainly media researchers and media buyers.
MEDIA BRIEF should cover following elements of the media campaign:
Name of the client and campaign, contact persons of the client and its contacts. Information about the client´s segment (FMCG - fast moving consumer goods, retail, automotive, telco, finance and banking, pharmacy, public sector,…).
Its size, current situation, expected future trends. Detailed description of client´s products or services, with the main focus on market share, seasonality of sales, distribution process, purchasing cycle, regionality and shopping habits,
We have to consider the type of the campaign. It can be focused on image, or it can be tactical campaign, promoting sales, discounts, or it can be focused on consumer´s competition.
Information about both direct and non-direct competitors is also very important. Direct competitors are usually companies with very similar products or services, and with a similar market share, like COKE versus PEPSI, or BMW versus AUDI. Non-direct competitors can be either companies from the same segment, but for example focused on different target groups (MERCEDES versus DACIA), or even from a different segment (OTC - over the counter pharmacy products versus herbal tea products).
Business goals, as a part of business plan, are usually focused mainly on sales and profit results.
The very important marketing goals are typically: market share, volume and distribution.
As communication goals, we can mention image support, brand awareness, or brand perception.
Key media goals are usually weekly or monthly GRP´s/TRP´s levels, reach and frequency. Typical example is weekly level of 200 GRP´s/TRP´s, with Net Reach of 50%, and frequency 4+.
Definition of the target group needs to be considered very carefully. Usually, it is described based on its socio-demographics profile, using MML/TGI data as the main source - ongoing multi-client research of consumer behaviour, media consumption and lifestyle, provided by research company Median, in the Czech market. There are very often two target groups: primary and secondary. For toys, it could be kids, as the primary target group, and their parents, as the secondary target group, as an example.
Advertising budget is the amount of money company plans to spend on promotion of its products or services. Key methods for the setting of advertising budget are the best guess (typical for newcomers), affordability, competitive analysis and percentage of sales. Budget can be either set by the client, or, the agency can be asked to propose an ideal budget to achieve the goals of the campaign.
Seasonality of the campaign is also very important. Advertiser should provide the media agency with the monthly sales figures, ideally. for the whole calendar year. It is important to discuss, whether the periods with higher or lower turnovers will be supported by marketing activities. The agency should also consider prices for media during the high season (higher prices), mid season (average prices) and low season (lower prices).
Timing of the campaign is based on the starting date of the campaign, and number and duration of active periods, usually months or weeks. These parameters are influenced by budget and media goals.
Regionality can be either national, covering the whole country, or regional, with focus on selected regions (location of shops, regions with above average consumption,…).
The client should also inform its media agency, if there are some, already available creative formats, like 30 sec TV and radio spots, on-line banners, full page ads for magazines, or billboards and metro frames for outdoor communication. This situation is typical of big global advertisers, where we can adopt a campaign from other countries and use it in the domestic market.
If the advertiser has some research available, they should share it with the agency, so that they have more detailed information about the segment, brand, or consumer habits.
This usually helps them to prepare a more effective campaign proposal.
At the end of the media brief there are additional information/notes, like deadline for the media proposal delivery, or the requested language for the media proposal.
New media brief form proposal
Today, with a high number of competitors, it is very important to be focused on innovative campaigns, use media creative solutions to be different and more visible, versus all others. Creativity is a crucial topic for many marketers, as well as marketing authors, like Wayne Lotherington: „So creative thinking is like investing because there are always risks and rewards. You can take the safe option with its minimal rewards. That means doing things the predictable way. Or you can look for more creative, albeit riskier option.“ (How creative people connect (or are they just dotty?). Singapore: TimeEdge Publishing Pte Ltd, 2007. page 60).
That is why the request for a media creative solution should become a standard part of the media brief, as per our example:
Client: Company XY
Product or service: Spring check
Type of the campaign: Tactical
Competitors: AB, CD
Business goals: To increase turnover vs.previous year: +10%
Marketing goals: To improve SoM vs.previous year: + 10%
Communication goals: To support Top of mind
Media goals: To cover 50% of our target group with Net Reach 50% and OTS 3+
Target group: Owners of our cars
Budget: 5 mio. CZK
Seasonality: Spring season
Media creative solutions: Include media creative solution into your proposal.
Creative formats: 1/1 4C print ad; 30s TV spot
Research: Brand awareness monthly tracking for past two years.
Notes: Deadline for your proposal: February 10
Thanks to the fact, that the request for media creative proposal will be incorporated into the media brief, will stimulate more media proposals with media creative solutions. This should improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Published in: CREATIVE STRATEGY/STRATEGY OF CREATIVITY (Trends in creative marketing communication), published by the University od Creative Communication, Prague, 2019