Robert ChisholmRobert Chisholm has worked at Hewlett-Packard (HP) for over 30 years – he began his career as on the creative side, working as an art director and creative director.  There he oversaw the production of multimedia campaigns including television, print, interactive and online/outdoor creative for HP’s consumer business. He then became an advertising manager and today serves as HP’s integrative marketing communications manager. He has a wide range of skills in marketing and communications – including developing and working with agencies to develop great creative and developing and creating briefs.

You teach a new class called Developing a Creative Brief. What is a creative brief?
The Creative Brief is a planning tool widely used by advertising agencies and marketing professionals when designing or implementing a marketing program. It is key in developing innovative and breakthrough creative ideas and is a collaborative tool by which the creative, account, and client teams involved in a project focus their thoughts and analyze the best method of approaching a specific marketing problem. First is the briefing document, which is a larger document with much more information that explains the target, value proposition, messaging, competitive information, etc. From that document, a creative brief is developed. It is a succinct and focused document that boils down all the information from the briefing into a single page.

So there is a review process for the creative brief with everybody involved.
That is correct. It’s something that the agency and the client put together and they own it together. It’s not one forcing the other to agree to something. This is something they developed together based on the briefing and it’s signed off and agreed upon by the agency and by the client. So it’s a very critical piece of the process that puts everyone on the same page.

What about insight?
The most powerful advertising contains insights that truly resonate with the consumer. Insights are a discovery about the target that establishes a link between the brand/product and the consumer. It demonstrates that the brand understands the consumer

What are the most important aspects of the class?
This class will offer innovative tools and approaches, yet very practical and easy to implement, for creating the brief itself. It will also help show you how to use research and other sources of information to uncover insights for the brief, as well as sharpening the proposition and arriving at a single minded message.

Any homework or group activities?
It’s a brand-new class, so my idea would be breaking students down into small groups and we will review a large briefing document and I ask them to develop a brief based on it. There may also be some external reading involved.

Will they have a takeaway skill and something they can add to their portfolio?
Yes, I hope that after taking this class they will have the skills to develop and write a good creative brief which is at the core of any great creative campaign. This will give the creative teams the information they need to hopefully develop a great creative idea that truly works.

Do you think certain qualities are needed in the marketing and media profession?
I don’t know if there are certain qualities, but it certainly seems to be a nice combination of talents, both strategic and creative. I just think that anybody who is going to be in the marketing and communications field who are developing marketing communications, should know the importance of the creative brief and the specifics about creating a good one.

Anything else?
There are a lot of uses and steps to the communications process. The idea I feel behind the College of Extended Studies program is to give an overall view of what the marketing and media process is. When you review these classes one slice at a time you see that each is great; however, when you put them all together you build the entire pie. It’s a great program.