‘The brief is the moment where the success of your campaign can be decided. A great brief can have your influencers’ creativity running wild, whilst staying on brand and on target for what you want to achieve.’
By Harriot Rockey, COO, Influence Network.
The brief for an influencer campaign can be everything. The above quote is from an article I published in July and it’s as true today as it was back then. A bad brief can mean campaign failure. A good brief can produce results beyond your initial expectations.
So, how do you brief an influencer? How can you create a specific, yet inspiring, influencer brief which gets the creative juices flowing and sparks influencers’ imaginations?
Here are some suggestions from what we’ve seen over the years.
Create a template
First things first. If this is your first influencer campaign then, in all likelihood, it won’t be your last. You need a template to speed up the process of creating briefs and give influencers, agencies and platforms a head start. Once they’re used to your template it should allow them to deliver results quicker. Spend the time working on a briefing template allowing you to easily reference all of the below information before you spend the time collecting said information together.
You need to communicate brand values and style quickly and simply
Brand values are important, because if you don’t communicate them explicitly it’s too easy for influencers to mistake your intentions or create a post in one of your ‘no go’ areas.
Similarly, it’s also important for influencers to understand your brand style, without resorting to throwing your full 30-page brand guidelines document at them.
Ultimately, you want influencers to respect the style you follow in your own creatives, but feel free to follow their own style when promoting your products or services.
Your template should have an easy way to solve this. Include some simple ‘musts’ and ‘must nots’ as they relate to your brand values and guidelines.
Give the overall campaign picture
Consider the differences in brief (and likely results) from the two below short fictional briefs. Let’s say we’re promoting a premium ice cream brand. Here’s two viable options for the initial influencer brief;
- We want you to create images that emphasise summer and enjoying the outdoors.
- We’re running a national advertising campaign to coincide with Pride Month. We want to support the LGTBQ+ community and we’re looking for support for that campaign through images that emphasise summer and enjoying the outdoors.
Context is everything. Why are you looking to work with influencers? What other campaigns do you have running at the moment? What are your key messages, to which audiences? Are influencers speaking to the same audiences? How can they complement your wider marketing?
The answer to that last question is that they can’t if they don’t even know it’s happening. All of the contextual information you provide will positively impact how influencers work with your brief, even if you only need to say something like: ‘we’re running a national campaign with a different focus: please ignore this in your creatives’.
Include some example likes and dislikes
Examples are powerful in any walk of life and they’re particularly powerful when illustrating to influencers what their creatives should and should not focus upon.
As a fashion brand, for example, you could easily collect together a mood board of existing influencer images, even if they are not from your campaigns, which hit the mark conceptually for you. Even if they’re not a match for the influencer’s current style they can help your group of influencers to know what you have in mind for your campaign.
Include details on how and where images will be used
In our work with influencers we agree up front, following our terms and conditions, that image rights will pass to the brand to use as they wish. However, it’s helpful to us, agencies and influencers to understand the context behind the usage, so letting everyone know up front how you plan to use the productions is useful in the creative process.
Another example might be useful. Say a food brand makes the following request to influencers:
- We want you to test out a cake-making kit and provide creatives of the results.
- We want you to test out a cake-making kit and provide creatives of the results. These will be used on a landing page explaining to customers how to get the most out of their purchase; approaching this brief as a series of ‘how to’ images and an end result would be most useful to us.
Clearly the second brief is going to be the one that produces the most useful results.
‘Hard nos’, even obvious ones, are vital
Remember that you live and breathe your brand and an influencer may be new to it. Beyond that, we all make relatively minor mistakes sometimes that may be a major mistake when it comes to your campaign.
If you are an alcohol brand, for example, then the below will be obvious to you, but perhaps consider reminding influencers;
- Our product should never be seen being used by those under-18, so please avoid any imagery featuring minors, even if they are not using the product.
- Our product should not be used whilst driving or operating machinery, so please avoid any imagery featuring cars or heavy equipment, even if they are not being used by the person enjoying the product.
These might seem obvious, but a summer-friendly alcohol brand could easily be consumed by a responsible parent during a family BBQ (we’ve all been there) it just might not be the image you want for your promotional campaign.
The basics: deliverables and ‘mandatories’
This is the ‘hygiene’ section of your brief: the basic ‘must haves’ of your campaign. Include the following:
- Number of posts and images/videos, separated by network
- Hashtags to include
- Account tags to include
- Specific wording to include
- Products, locations, services or other assets that must be pictured, mentioned or videoed
How do you brief influencers?
Including all of the above into your template will help you to produce a ‘next level’ brief that really clues influencers in to what you’re expecting.
We’re curious though, is there anything we’ve missed? What do you include in your briefs to influencers? What do you think is key to getting a good response? Let us know how you go about it via any of our social accounts.