I love Powerpoint decks. Love’em to death.

They’re fun to make, no? All those slides, and images, and, and the transitions! Yeah. I can make them really beautiful.

I love writing briefs too, if you can believe it. I like writing, and wordsmithing, and finding just the right, whiz-bang, jaw-dropping one liner to top it all off.

But sometimes that doesn’t get me to the best strategy.

Sometimes I get too wrapped up in building slides, or sentences, that I lose track of the whole point of the brief in the first place. Namely:

  • What’s the problem we’re trying to solve? Stated directly and in plain language?
  • What’s an insight that can help us solve that problem?
  • Finally, what can we say, inspired by that insight, to help us solve that problem?

That is, pretty much, what a brief or deck should communicate — the three simple answers to those three (complicated) questions.

This is, of course, easier said than done. The allure of more Powerpoint slides, or more, rich, juicy details about the consumer, can often be too much.

“But there’s so much research!” you say.

“We know so much about our customers!” you say.

“We’ve got piles and piles of competitive ads to review!” you say.

Sure you do. We all do.

But what’s the gist of it?

What’s the problem? What’s the insight? What’s the best answer?

To answer that, you don’t need slides, or sentences. You need a napkin. Or a Post-it note. Or whatever else is conveniently at arms length. Because if you can simplify your answers so that they fit on a napkin, than you’ve nailed it before ever firing up your computer.

It also makes you feel a bit, you know, Don Drapery, in your execution. But that’s a story for next time…

Read more from John at The Planning Notepad

About John Krissilas

John Krissilas has written 6 post in this blog.

Old dog. New tricks.