There are several different creative brief formats. They tend to vary depending on the size and nature of the project. The primary differences among creative brief formats are related to length. There can be a wide variance due to the need for more or fewer categories in order to describe and sell a concept.
Most creative brief formats will start with sections for a project overview, intended audience and an objective. Then there are often sections which explain the intended tone and overall message. The brief will also typically include details such as project schedule, budget and deliverables.
If an agency is targeting a new client, the brief may also include more detail about the company and its qualifications. This information is usually placed near the end of the document, as the primary purpose of the brief is to sell the client on a specific concept. A brief for a new client may also have more detail because the relationship with the client has not yet been fully established, thus requiring more explanation of work methods and intent.
For small projects, such as updates or expansions to an existing campaign, creative brief formats do not tend to be as elaborate. They will usually only contain the basics of the suggested changes and supporting ideas for making them. In most cases, short briefs will be written by agencies that have already worked with the client. There is less need to sell in this case, because a professional relationship has already been established.
Creative brief formats can also vary depending on the nature of the campaign. For example, the sections of the brief can be geared towards showing how a concept can inspire certain types of action and feelings. There are also several ways a brief can describe the intended tone and message of the campaign.
A creative brief may also vary in complexity based on the medium to be targeted. A website or a multi-platform marketing campaign will typically have more elements than a magazine advertisement. More complicated campaigns will tend to have extra detail in other categories, such as schedule, deliverables and work method.
If a large campaign is being outlined, the brief may also devote considerable attention to the personnel attached to the project. This can include both people working for the agency and a list of contacts needed from the client. There may also be a schedule which indicates which people will be involved and when.