The Video Production Process: Role Of The Creative Brief

So you've decided to start the video production process for visual storytelling of your organization—or perhaps you're considering this in the near future. Our team can't wait to work with you!  Let's examine the process, starting with the creative brief.

A what, you ask? Don't worry. The creative brief has nothing to do with either briefcases or underwear. It's a document that is co-created by your team and our team, breathing life into the project and ensuring that your video stays true to its original aim. 

Initially, we consult with you to determine the intended audience for your video (it's critical that the audience is defined specifically!), the purpose or objective of the video, and how you will use it. This consultative process begins with a detailed questionnaire that defines the length of your video, key points, topics or phrases that should and should not be included, the primary and secondary message, and details about the audience and specifics of objective information that may need to be included. Clarifying the answers to these questions may seem time-consuming at first, but the information is essential to making the project run smoothly in the end. Often, clients find that the questions spark internal discussion; coming to a consensus at an early stage is important. 

Once these elements are agreed upon, our team develops a creative brief to guide in the creation of the video, and circulates it to you for review. Think of the creative brief as a blueprint that encompasses your goals for the project and guides the creative team. The creative brief lays out a detailed plan to bring your message to your intended audience. It is generally laid out in three sections: specifications, treatment and storyline.


The first section briefly describes the type of video that will be created (click here for examples of video types).  It also specifies the intended target audience (and any secondary audiences) and the expected length of the video. The detailed description of the audience will help inform storytelling techniques, because every audience is different. Tactics that work with a business-to-business video describing your services wouldn't necessarily be appropriate for a video about a consumer product aimed at adults under the age of 30, for example. 


In this section, specifics of the video concept are laid out.  The video may be given a working title to drive the concept, and the "feel" or emotional impact will be described.  Details of the setting, background video and music are established.  Spokespersons or actors may be defined—will you use a spokesperson or professional actors? If voiceover narration is used, will the voice actor be male or female, younger or older, and what qualities will their voice possess? What type of background music will be used to set the tone?

Finally, the video and its message are broken down into pieces or phases. Often, phases are named internally for reference and are explored further in the final section of the creative brief. For example, some videos take a problem + solution format, while others build continuously to a dramatic finish.


This final section provides details on how each phase of the video will be executed. While it's not a full script (that will come during the next phase of production), you can think of the storyline as a guide that describes essential details of message, imagery, dialogue or voiceover, and audio, including background music. It also maps out timing and transitions for each section, helping all members of the team gain a sense of how the video will flow. For each section there is a clear reiteration of what part of the message will be delivered in this phase, as well as how much time will be devoted to it. The final component of the storyline is a strong conclusion or call to action, ensuring that the message of your video will resonate with your audience and explicitly prepare them to act on that message.

So there you have it: the video creative brief, demystified. It's an invaluable tool to help make sure that your video is effective and does exactly what it's intended to do. Don't be afraid to "kick the tires" of the creative brief if the creative process itself makes you think of the project in a new light. Making certain that the video concept is clear from the beginning will pay off tremendously when it comes time for filming. 

Thinking about incorporating video into your marketing strategy? The Focal Flame video production team offers flexible solutions. With marketing professionals, scriptwriters, videographers, sound engineers, and video editors on staff, each project is tailored to your need. Contact us today!

- by Suellen Adams