Show Me The Brief

A former boss used to say, "In the absence of a destination, any path will do." I heard it a lot, which could be why it's stuck with me. 

But, it's a valid point. 

In life and advertising, the practice of distilling goals down to their simplest form and writing them down on a single sheet of paper is a useful exercise. Especially if you truly intend to track progress and accomplish said goals. 

Which brings us to the topic of a brief. 

An advertiser writing a media brief for an agency is an important, nay critical step in the advertising process. A media brief is a document that outlines the advertiser's goals, target audience, budget, and other key details about the campaign. It provides a clear and concise overview of the most important thing we want to accomplish and serves as a roadmap for the agency to follow in developing and executing the campaign.

But it’s not just helpful for the agency.

There are several key benefits to the advertiser as well.

First, it ensures that the agency has a clear understanding of the advertiser's goals and expectations so that we can tailor our approach, strategy, and tactics accordingly. This can help avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications and ensure that we are in the best possible position to deliver the desired results for the advertiser.

Second, a media brief helps align the advertiser and the agency around common goals and objectives. By providing a clear and concise overview of the campaign, the media brief can help to ensure that both the advertiser and the agency are on the same page throughout the planning process, and are working towards the same objectives.

Third, a media brief serves as a reference point throughout the campaign. It provides a framework for us to follow, agreed-upon KPIs, and helps to ensure that the campaign stays on track and on budget. It can also provide a basis for regular updates, reporting, and optimizations to ensure that the advertiser is fully informed about the campaign's progress.

What’s included in a media brief?

Glad you asked! Here’s what we use at TRIUNION:


Request Date:

Purpose – What is the context of the request? 

    What will the campaign support? What are we trying to achieve? What is the key message for this campaign?

Business Objectives – What are the primary business goals? 

    What are we trying to achieve? What will determine success (success metrics)?

Media Objectives – What do we want to communicate? 

    How will success be measured? Is there a call to action we want to communicate?

Target – Who are we trying to reach? 

    Provide relevant demographic, psychographic and/or segment information. Are there any other target insights to consider? Is there a secondary target we should reach?

Budget – How much should this plan cost?

    Is the budget defined or is there a price range? What is the funding source?

Geography – Where should we target?

    What regions/states? Are there any specific DMAs/MSAs to include or avoid?

Marketplace Considerations – Is there key competitive activity to consider?

    List any key competitors.

Timing – When should the plan take place? 

    How long should the campaign last? Are there any key dates that should be considered?

Relevant parameters

    Are there any media vehicles that should or should not be used? Is there anything else to consider?

Preferred Format

    PowerPoint, Adobe, Word


    Who is the final approver of the plan?

Due Date

    When do you need it?

Overall, the importance of an advertiser writing a media brief for its agency cannot be overstated. A well-written media brief (and by “brief” we mean brief!) is a powerful tool to provide a clear and concise overview of the campaign and a definition of what campaign success looks like.