During the past two months I’ve spent interning at IGS, I’ve learned valuable lessons that will aid in the success of my future public relations endeavors.
Up to this point, most of what I’ve learned in college has come from a curriculum that stresses a right answer, a wrong answer and zero ambiguity.
While this method of teaching does come in handy when writing a simple essay, it’s not nearly as effective in preparing you to deal with the real work world.
However, through my intern experience, I learned when it’s correct to say yes and when to say no. But perhaps the most important lesson I learned from my internship occurred when I figured out how to correctly construct a creative brief.
Three weeks into my internship, the CEO of IGS, Towan Isom, held a creative brief training session for junior staff members.
We learned the fundamentals of the creative process while working with graphic designers. Towan stressed that the creative process requires strategic thinking, primary and secondary research and a true comprehension of the intended audience and the campaign’s message.
At the conclusion of the session, we were assigned to construct our own creative brief using the knowledge we had just acquired. Whoever presented the best creative brief would win a prize.
When I got home and started reviewing my notes; the realization hit me. I really didn’t know anything about constructing a creative brief correctly.
The purpose of a creative brief is to essentially establish set goals of visual promotion between the client and the designer. However, just like it says in its title, a creative brief is meant to be “brief.”
In contrast, in school, nothing matters more than having details because that’s how you defend yourself and your opinion.
I was faced with a dilemma. On one side of the scale, I had fourteen years of education telling me that details were necessary to make this assignment accurate. But on the other side, I had real-world experience telling me the opposite.
At first glance, this sounds like a minor problem. However, for me, it was a giant one; all the creative briefs I wrote during the semester needed details to earn a high mark. Thus, I thought details were necessary for this assignment to be executed successfully.
So for the next two days, I settled into a pattern. I would spend half my day writing out everything, making sure to add details explaining every bit of collateral material and discussing why every little piece mattered. Then I would spend the other half of the day deleting 75% of what I had just written.
On the third day, I had an epiphany. I realized that if I wanted this assignment to be done correctly I needed to think more creatively, write less and outline the key points, such as the target audience and the goals of the collateral materials.
In brief, I had to think more abstractly and do less systematically (something they don’t teach in the traditional classroom). Once I implemented this strategy, I was able to write my creative brief in no time.
When we got the results back the next week, it turned out that I had actually won the assignment contest! But looking back on it, it’s not the winning part that makes me smile.
It’s more so the fact that I now know what a creative brief needs and how to craft any document in this fast-paced world of public relations.
Craft your words and condense your thoughts — because that’s part of the art of public relations.