People not allowing time to brief you properly

Likely impact

…on you

Inevitably working with an inadequate brief is frustrating. And it can often be confidence-sapping if you can’t be sure you’re doing the right thing. And, unless you get really lucky, it’ll also mean it takes you longer to produce your work, partly because you may well waste a lot of time staring at a blank screen (and possibly chewing the back of your knuckles) while you try to work out what to do.

And that’s before you even get to the almost inevitable revisions you’ll need to do when your client realises the folly of not briefing you properly at the start. So it all adds needless pressure to meet deadlines and may result in longer days.

…on your clients

Long term, it’s likely to end up costing them more time:

  • going through a draft that doesn’t do what they want,
  • working out what they need instead,
  • briefing you a second time (or redrafting themselves what you’ve produced).
  • and if they brief you a second time, they’ll have to go through your redraft as well.

…on your organisation

Any delays that arise from this may mean communications arriving late. Or if the deadlines have to be met, it may mean having to pay a premium to do this. So there may be higher costs, or employees working without all the information they need. And apart from upsetting them, it may also mean them making mistakes. And these take yet more time to put right, and hurt your organisation’s reputation too.

Likely causes

Many senior folk are busy people, so their time is at a premium. But if they’re not putting aside enough time to brief you properly, it means they’re prioritising other things over communicating effectively with employees. And this is likely to come down to a lack of appreciation of the value of Internal Communication.

Or, perhaps, they’re putting it off because they don’t feel very confident about their ability to brief you effectively. This could be because they’ve never briefed anyone before, or only infrequently. Or perhaps they don’t feel adequately supported by the process.

Potential solutions

If the problem exists because your leadership don’t appreciate your potential business value, we have to get your clients to understand this. Or more specifically, perhaps, the cost not just to them, but the organisation, of not prioritising the job of giving you and your team adequate briefs. This would be part of a larger business case for getting all the resources you need to do the job the way it needs doing.

If you feel the challenge may partly reside in the quality of the briefing process itself or your team’s ability to deliver it effectively, this is obviously something you will need to address.

Things to consider for your wish-list

A potential role for training

There are two roles training could play here. It can teach IC Specialists a series of DFVP:

  • processes for taking IC briefs and for planning campaigns
  • techniques for getting all the information they need to get from their clients, while using those processes.

Beyond training you’ll also need

A business case that will secure:

  1. A mandate to use these practices in all relevant circumstances
  2. Time to practise this learning so you and your team can deliver maximum ROI.

Where these solutions could take you

You should be getting enough airtime with every one of your clients every time. So you get a decent brief, and your clients get increasing confidence in the briefing process, and in your ability to add value to them.

Likely business benefits

…to you

This could save significant amounts of time for you and your team, your clients, approval groups and audiences.

It will likely also save you some budget, not least because some projects may never get started, there may well be fewer reworks, and fewer rush jobs too.

And of course:

  • your confidence and career prospects get a boost,
  • you have less frustration and stress – and
  • you get to go home at a reasonable hour and feel safe to switch off at the end of the day.