How to Write a Branding Brief (Free Template Included!)



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25 min


13 August, 2019

Creating a well-written branding brief is essential for any successful branding project.

Whether you’re a startup needing help to create a standout brand identity, a company looking to revisit your brand strategy, or an established business looking for a full rebrand, a detailed branding brief will help to streamline the branding process.

Today, we’re looking into what writing a branding brief involves, how to craft one effectively, and providing a free branding brief template to help you get started.

The Branding Brief Template

The Branding Brief Template is a free template that will help you get the brief for your branding project right. W...

Let’s take a look at some of the branding projects you could have in mind:

  • You’re a startup with no brand at all, and need “the works”
  • You created your own brand identity, and now it’s time to step it up
  • You run an existing company and you’re looking to rebrand

If you’d rather watch us explain how to write a branding brief, we’ve got you covered there too:

What Makes a Branding Brief Different to a Design Brief?

If you recall us saying last time, a design brief is a vital communication tool between yourself, and in this case, your chosen branding agency.

Obtaining branding services can be quite easy if you know where to look.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a great branding brief to back up your communication.

But what’s the difference between this, a branding brief, and a regular design brief?


You’ve identified the need for a branding project so it’s time to get down to the specifics in your written branding brief.

Where before, we had to be quite top level and general, this time we can get more granular, get down to the details, and explain the problems you’re facing with your brand in more depth.

To avoid writing the same post over and over again, we’re going to whizz over some of the other details here.

If you’re looking for more details about these questions, jump back to post one: How to Write a Design Brief.

Once we’ve covered these off, we’re going to get down to the nitty gritty of writing a branding brief.

white notepad and laptop on table

Why Write a Branding Brief?

You’d want to write a branding brief in two unique circumstances:

  • You’re a new business looking to get their branding sorted out
  • You’re an existing business looking to rebrand

The idea behind a written branding brief, is to bring as much clarity around your business, strategy, and values as possible.

You want to approach writing a branding brief, as if you were trying to explain your business to an alien.

And this is where a lot of businesses struggle.

They need to be on paper (or in an email!)

The purpose of a branding brief is to:

  • Clarify your own ideas
  • Bring your branding agency into your world
  • Bring clarity to the branding project at hand

And don’t forget, you’re going to need a written brief (even if it is loose) to help get a cost for branding services.

Essentially, a branding brief is a way of communicating with a brand agency, about your design needs and requirements.

Who Should Write a Branding Brief?

The majority of the input should could from you, the business owner, or someone on the marketing team.

You’re the one with the knowledge about your business and you know the problems you’re facing.

Even if you have some loose ideas around your brief, a good branding agency will help you tighten it up and get your project on track.

Your agency should be engaged enough to be dissecting your brief and asking you thoughtful questions.

Remember, a branding brief isn’t the finished article.

Good branding work comes from good partnerships. And learning to trust your agency have your best interests at heart, will deliver better long term results.

If you’re struggling to shape your branding brief, consider running a branding workshop with relevant team members to help get ideas down on paper.

Now, what should go into your branding brief?

pink post notes on white wall

What Should Be Included in Your Branding Brief?

So, now you know when you should write it, and who should write it, what exactly should you include in your branding brief?

Your branding brief is still going to include the top level sections from The Design Brief.

These include:

  • An Overview of Your Business and Brand
  • The Objectives of Your Branding Project
  • Your Target Audience and Market
  • The Problem You’re Facing
  • Project Specific Information
  • More About Your Business
  • Competitor Information
  • Project Timescales
  • Project Budget
  • Contact Information
  • How the Project will Be Awarded
  • Required Response

But we’re also going to include several new sections.

These include:

  • Your Brand Strategy
  • Brand Values
  • Brand Mission
  • Brand Story
  • Brand Positioning
  • Brand Messaging
  • Expected Branding Deliverables
  • Sample Branding Campaigns

I’m sure at this stage you’re wondering:

“If I’m including all of this brand related information, and I have all of the answers already, what am I engaging with a branding agency for?”

We’re going to answer that too.

First though, let’s dive into the general information.

A lot of this is very similar to the information we’ve already shared about writing a design brief. If you’ve read that post already, you might want to skip ahead.

Now, let’s get back into what you should include in your branding brief, shall we?

An Overview of Your Business and Brand

The first thing you should explain in your branding brief, is about your business, the sector you work in, and the brand you’re looking to build.

If you’re looking to create a new brand, try answering the following:

  • What do you do and how do you make your money?
  • How do customers currently buy from your business?
  • What makes your business unique within the marketplace?

And if it’s a rebranding project, then try answering the above, plus:

  • What’s wrong with the current business branding?
  • What’s changed since the current branding was launched?

Every branding project relies all parties having a clear understanding of the business they’re working with and the sector they’re working in.

The more you can offer up about your brand in the first instance here, the better.

person writing on notepad with crumpled paper around

The Objectives of Your Branding Project

There’s always a reason behind your brand project. Sure if you’re a new business, you’ve probably just realised you need to get your branding and brand identity taken care of.

If you’re rebranding though, what drove you to make the decision to take action?

Perhaps your business has moved in a new direction, and you need to change your brand identity to reflect that.

Once you’ve taken a decision to create a brand, or rebrand your business, you have to let your agency know why.

From there, you can start getting clear on your branding goals and objectives.

As we’ve said in our design brief post, a goal for a branding project could be relatively simple:

“We need a new brand identity to help us stand out from the noise. The market place we operate in, is crowded. Therefore, differentiation matters. Our space is saturated with boring brands, we want to make a difference with the way we look.”

The goal is differentiation. Simple enough.

A rebranding goal might look slightly different:

We’ve merged with another company and the brand is now completely confused. We have no clarity around our offering and we certainly don’t have one cohesive identity to sit behind. We need to get clear on how we look, and what we offer to our customers.

The goal here is quite complex.

Firstly it’s solidifying the service offering through branding. Secondly, it’s creating one cohesive brand identity born from two companies merging.

That’s a very different set of challenges your branding agency faces. You might want to consider choosing an agency with rebranding experience for this.

Having your goals outlined like this, keeps everyone clear on the project, and gives you and your agency something to measure against.

Measuring success

You need to identify how you’re going to work out whether or not your budget has been well spent.

If you’re going to judge the success or failure of a project, it’s only fair to let the agency you work with know what the criteria are.

For example: If you’re hoping that by rebranding, you’ll 10x your sales, you need to include this in the design brief.

Why? Because it’ll change how the agency approaches your project from the outset.

Rather than spending time on creating pixel perfect website designs, they’ll be running tests with customers, and designing around the results.

Having a set of “branding success factors” can really help all parties.

It ensures everyone knows what their responsibilities are, and will help to create the branding project plan.

person holding customer persona worksheet
Download your copy of the customer persona worksheet here

Your Target Audience and Market

One of the most important things to include when you write your branding brief, is a section about your target audience.

Here’s the deal:

Branding and design used to solve problems for your customers, as well as your business.

The job of a branding agency isn’t just to make things look pretty. Sure, that might help at times, but design is a problem solving tool.

Think about this:

You have no recognition in the market. Sure, that’s a problem for you but, but realistically, it’s because your messaging and identity isn’t hitting home for your customers.

When it comes to branding or rebranding, a design agency is responsible for designing for your customers. Not for you.

Therefore, it’s important that they know what your target audience looks like.

If possible, it’s even better if you can run a focus session with your customers involved. This will help everyone understand how your brand is perceived, and give you ideas for moving it forward.

We’ve got a great post here about creating customer personas.

Essentially, you want to outline their demographic traits and psychographic characteristics.

You can do this by asking insightful questions about your existing customers.

Take your ideal customer, and build your persona around them.

On top of thinking about demographics and psychographics, I love asking the following questions:

  • What does their family structure look like?
  • What type of car they drive?
  • Are they a pet owner?
  • What newspaper/magazines do they read?
  • Which websites do they visit? And for what purpose?

I often find simple questions like this help a lot more when creating a brand, than the demographic information and psychographic traits.

Knowing what websites customers visit and brands they buy into, can help inform you about the design styles that appeal to them, what type of content they like.

Customer personas should take up quite a chunk of your design brief. Make sure you include 2 or 3 examples!

The Problem You’re Facing

The objectives of your branding project are one thing, but the actual problems you’re facing as a business is something else entirely.

Goals and objectives focus on where you want to be.

The problem you’re facing with your brand, focuses on the here and now.

And it’s a strange situation with creating a new brand.

Because essentially, the problem is:

“We don’t have a brand.”

And you’d imagine, that’s an easy fix, let’s create one. End of branding brief.

Not so fast! You’re still going to want to include all of the information we’re outlining here.

It’s usually easier to outline the problem with a rebranding project:

“Our brand identity is old and dated. We’ve merged with another company. We’re switching up our focus.”

These are problems that need unpicked, but they’re usually easier to outline at the offset.

Although it can seem a little self-deprecating, deep diving into the real world problems you face as a business is the only way to solve them.

You’ve done the hard part, which is realising the problem you’re facing.

Now, steer into it, and with a professional branding agency by your side, you can overcome it!

person holding pen and writing a list

Project Specific Information

Branding specific project information can be tricky to outline in a branding brief.

This happens because more often than not, it’s beneficial to have your branding agency make recommendations, rather than adding restrictions from the outset.

On top of that, you might not actually know what it is that you need for your brand or business.

However, there are always some things to consider.

Let’s take a look at creating a new brand as an example:

  • Is your business bricks and mortar, or mostly online?
  • Are you in the market for awareness, customers, or something else?
  • What sort of deliverables are you looking for? (More on that later)

Your project specification doesn’t need to super technical.

But if you have specific requirements, it’s best to get them listed out now.

Other things to consider alongside your branding project are:

  • What does your marketing strategy look like?
  • Do you need a new website? (If so, check out our post about writing web design briefs)
  • Do you have a digital marketing strategy in place?


You’re going to your branding agency for their talent and recommendations. So don’t be completely closed off to changing things!

The more information you can share about your project here, the better.

More About Your Business

At the start of your branding brief, you’ve given an overview into your business, the sector you work in, and the brand you’re looking to build.

But now, you have a chance to share even more about your business.

  • Why do you want to build a brand in this space?
  • What have you done to arrive at this point?
  • Who makes up the business?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • Why did you get started?
  • What is your brand strategy? (More on that later)

Give us the longer version of the elevator pitch.

The more your branding agency knows, the better they can help!

Competitor Information

It’s funny, the level of influence that competitor’s can have on your business, and branding brief.

You need to decide here, are you trying to stand out, or fit in?

There’s not a right or wrong answer here. This should be assessed on a case by case basis.

If you’re working on a branding project, knowing about your competitors can help us to get an understanding of what they’re all about.

It also allows us to take a look at their brand identity, and discuss with you how you fit into that competitive landscape.

Knowing your competitors is great.

Helping your branding agency to know your competitors not only eases their workload, but allows discussions about them to take place at an earlier stage in the branding process.

It also means they don’t stray too close to what your competitors are doing when creating your new brand identity.

silver clock on a wooden surface

Project Timescales

This question often helps agencies decide whether they can be involved with your project or not.

If you’re looking for a rapid turnaround time, and the agencies you reach out to have a lot of work on, they might decline the offer to work together.

“ASAP” is not an acceptable answer when talking about timescales either. There needs to be a reasonable level of understanding here, things don’t just happen overnight.

As a rough guide, here’s what we tell people at Canny about our branding timescales:

Branding Project Timescales

Branding projects can take anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks. It really depends on their complexity.

If you’re looking at a brand identity project, with limited visual assets to be created, you’ll be down nearer the 6 week mark.

However, if you’re looking to completely rebrand your business, create new visual assets, brand guidelines, and roll it out into a large organisation, you’ll be looking towards the top end of that timescale.

Timescales should really be put in place by you design agency when you decide to move forward.

One thing I always ask our new clients is:

“Is there an event/product launch/something else we can work towards with the project?”

And that always immediately helps get some initial plans in place.

Try to avoid reaching out to branding agencies at the last minute. The earlier you can bring them in on your plans the better!

Project Budget

Ah, project budgets. Everyone loves to talk about money, but nobody ever wants to show their hand first.

Thankfully, we have an article about project budgets, and why it’s important to share your budget with your design agency.

Think about this:

Branding agencies get approached for work on a regular basis.

Amongst the requests for work, there’s often a lot of rubbish, some half-decent leads, and sometimes, a real diamond in the rough.

You want to be that diamond!

Now, telling a branding agency your project budget isn’t the only way to do this. But yet again, it’s another thing that goes towards building trust and transparency from the outset.

Nobody wants their time wasted.

Picture this:

You have a 30 minute to 1 hour call with a design agency. And then you send the brief. With no budget information.

Your branding agency reads through it, and comes back with a branding proposal.

It’s 5 times over what you thought you’d be paying. You’ve lost an hour of your time, the agency has also lost a significant chunk of time by writing out the proposal.

By being clear with your budget early on, you can make sure everyone is on the same page right from the get go.

Now, you don’t need to list the budget to the penny. But just giving some indication of what you’re working with goes a long way!

If you’re really unsure on how much certain things cost, we have some great posts about pricing out design and branding services that are listed out below:

I hope that helps!

Girl Using Phone and Pointing at Laptop

Contact Information

There’s nothing more frustrating than “design by committee.” However, it does happen, and it can be managed.

But there always needs to be a lead point of contact in any branding project.

You need one voice of reason that can be used to add balance to the discussions, and go between both the agency and the company.

Clearly listing out the contact details of the project contact, as well as the best time and way to get hold of them will make things run a lot smoother.

The branding agency should also do their part here and once the project kicks off, they’ll assign a member of staff (usually an Account Manager) to handle their side of the communication.

How the Project will Be Awarded

If you’re considering working with a number of branding agencies, or firing out your branding brief to several choices, then you need to make sure they know how the project will be awarded.

For the record:

We don’t believe in distributing your brief to a huge number of agencies. It’s not respectful of their time.

That said, we appreciate you’ll want to collect several proposals and opinions. 3 to 5 agencies is a fair number to approach.

Not sure how to choose a branding agency to work with?

Now, how will your project be awarded?

Typically, there are several elements at play:

  • Cost/Value for Money
  • Quality of Work
  • Previous Experience
  • Alignment to the Design Brief
  • Suitability of the Agency

There are any number of factors you could use to judge the responses.

It’s normal to write into your design brief, the percentage and weighting of each of the awarding criteria.

This helps to show your design agency what’s most important in your decision making process.

Required Response

The required response section of a design brief is pretty straightforward to write.

You need to know your agency what you’re expecting back, by when, and how to submit it.

It’s simply a case of listing out what you expect to receive back.

Perhaps this is as simple as:

  • A written response to the brief
  • Examples of relevant work
  • Testimonials from happy clients

Tell them how to submit their proposal, what to include, by when, and you’re off to the races.

What about those additional sections that should be included in a branding brief?

Let’s take a look at those now:
white jigsaw puzzle illustration

Your Brand Strategy

If you have a fair idea of your brand strategy, then it’s a good idea to include it in your branding brief.

Your brand strategy is made up of:

  • Brand Values
  • Brand Mission
  • Brand Story
  • Brand Positioning
  • Brand Messaging

Usually we find our clients have a good idea of their values, mission, and story. But need help with positioning and messaging.

Even if you have some ideas around this, get it noted down.

Remember, your branding brief is a work in progress, not the finished article.

Expected Branding Deliverables

One of the biggest influences of the cost of a branding project, is the level or amount of expected branding deliverables.

For example:

If you’re expecting a 40 page brochure to be included, then you need to get that listed out.

That’s a hefty chunk of design work that shouldn’t be overlooked.

At a minimum, we find most of our clients typically need:

  • Brand identity creation
  • Brand guidelines
  • Business cards
  • Letterheads
  • One or two promotional items (flyers etc)

We have a post that outlines typical branding services and deliverables – so if you’re looking for inspiration, start there.

Sample Branding Campaigns

As we’ve started to work on larger rebranding projects, we’ve also been asking to take a look over the branding campaigns our clients usually run.

If you’re rebranding, and have run brand awareness or advertising campaigns in the past, include some links to the assets in your brief.

This gives your agency an idea of how your brand will be used going forward.

It also helps build out the list of deliverables we talked about above.

Branding Brief FAQs

We’ve covered a lot of ground up until this point, so let’s take a breath and recap by looking at some popular branding brief questions.

  • What Is a Creative Brief in Branding?

    Simply put, a branding brief is a document that maps out all of the project details, deliverables, strategy, objectives and goals. It should also touch on competitors, audience, and any other noteworthy bits of information.

  • What Should a Brand Brief Include?

    When writing a brand brief of your own, be sure to include the following:

    • An Overview of Your Business and Brand
    • The Objectives of Your Branding Project
    • Your Target Audience and Market
    • The Problem You’re Facing
    • Project Specific Information
    • More About Your Business
    • Competitor Information
    • Project Timescales
    • Project Budget
    • Contact Information
    • How the Project will Be Awarded
    • Required Response
  • What's the Difference Between a Creative Brief and a Branding Brief?

    A creative brief tends to be a lot more broad in comparison to a branding brief. The latter is a lot more specific too, whereas a creative brief could be about anything (i.e. a design project or a marketing project).

  • People Also Ask: How do You Write a Brief For a Rebrand?

    As you can imagine, there are a lot of similarities between a branding brief and a rebranding brief. Rather than explain them all in this post, we’d recommend you check out our post on how to write a rebranding brief.

“What Exactly Am I Paying a Branding Agency For?”

When writing a hefty branding brief like this, it’s not uncommon to think:

“I already have all of the answers, so what am I paying for?”

Well, think about how you ended up in this situation in the first place. Go back to your problems, goals, and objectives.

You’re paying for a professional branding agency to help you overcome them.

You’re paying for expertise.

You’re paying to come out of your branding project with a brand strategy and identity that you can firmly stand behind as a business.

It’s Time to Reach Out

Now that you’ve learned how to write a branding brief, it’s time to start reaching out to branding agencies.

If you’re still not sure on how to find a branding agency, you could contact us to discuss your project.

Alternatively, head over to our recommended list of branding agencies in Newcastle to find one that you like the look of.

So, it’s time to get the process started!

How to Write a Branding Brief (Free Template Included!)

A branding brief is a useful tool that should be used when trying to source a branding agency for your project.

Remember though, it’s not rigid. It should be added to and modified as your chosen agency sink their teeth into your world!

It’s not unusual for goals and objectives to change, especially when outside interference comes into play, and throws the cat among the pigeons.

And that’s fine, just be prepared to go back and forward and hammer out the details.

Just like a design brief, a branding brief should be used to reach out to agencies, and referred back to at key milestones within the project. But it isn’t written in stone. More, wet sand.

It’s a great initial document to have, but it should grow with your project.

If you need help creating your branding brief then get in touch with our friendly team.

You can also check out examples of our previous work to see how we’ve helped other businesses transform their branding.

Other Design Brief Templates in the Series

As well as The Branding Brief Template we’ve also created a whole range of other brief templates that you download and use completely free.

So, no matter what sort of creative project you need to write a brief for, we’ve got you covered. Check them out below:

The Design Brief Template

The Design Brief Template will help you get the foundation for any design project right. It’s a good all rounder!

From graphic design to interior design, no matter the type of design project you need – The Design Brief Template is sure to help you out.

Download now
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The Rebranding Brief Template

The Rebranding Brief Template will help you get the brief for your rebranding project right.

From smaller rebranding projects, to full scale enterprise rebranding – The Rebranding Brief Template has all sizes of rebranding projects covered.

Download now
Read the post

The Web Design Brief Template

The Web Design Brief Template will help you get the brief for your web design project right.

Whether you’re creating a new website for your business, or redesigning your existing website – then The Web Design Brief Template is going to be useful.

Download now
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The Video Brief Template

The Video Brief Template will help you get the foundation for your video project right.

Whether you’re embarking on a corporate video, documentary, explainer, or any other type of video project – then The Video Brief Template is sure to help you out.

Download now
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The Marketing Brief Template

The Marketing Brief will help you get the brief for any of your marketing projects right.

Whether you’re looking to grow traffic to your website, or increase conversions from existing traffic – then The Marketing Brief Template is here to help.

Download now
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The Content Brief Template

The Content Brief Template will help you to generate interest in your brand/business in no time!

This brief is perfect for marketers out there looking to work with an agency to strategise, create, and market their content. With content marketing becoming a must in business – The Content Brief Template is designed to help you progress your own content marketing strategy.

Download now
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The Packaging Brief Template

The Packaging Design Brief template will help you communicate the needs of your packaging project.

From cartons and bottles to boxes and envelopes, knowing what to include in your brief can be confusing – that’s why we designed The Packaging Design Brief template, to help you make sense of the packaging madness.

Download now
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The RFP / RFQ Template

The RFP / RFQ Template will help you to create an easy to understand document that communicates the needs of your project.

Whether you’re embarking on a branding, web design, brochure design, packaging design, or any other type of design project – then The RFP / RFQ Template can help.

Download now
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The Advertising Brief Template

The Advertising Brief tells your chosen agency everything about your advertisement or campaign.

From understanding your project goals, to detailing examples of work you like – The Advertising Brief Template is sure to help you out.

Download now
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Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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