Why do agencies find it necessary to rewrite the client communications brief, transcribe it into their own formats and fill out their little boxes with their special headings before heading into creative development?
Is it about control? Is it because client briefs are notoriously inadequate? Is it because clients don't know how to inspire creative agencies? Agencies certainly train their people to question everything in the client brief, not to take anything at face value and to keep asking 'why?' like annoying toddlers.
In fact, developing the communications strategy, defining the role it has to play in addressing the brand's problem, and then transcribing it into a brief for the creative department is a critical way in which the agency can add value. It has been said that 90% of the creativity in great communications is in the brief. An exaggeration, perhaps, but it is the foundation for the disruptive, breakthrough thinking that can really make a difference to a client's business, as evidenced by all those award winning papers in the IPA Effectiveness archive. This could be via a refocused interpretation of the brand benefit or communications problem, or an original insight into the consumer or a fresh lateral perspective on the category the brand is operating in. The AA, for example, was transformed at the briefing stage from a car breakdown rescue service into 'Britain's fourth emergency service'.