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    March 15, 2022

    How to improve MLR review with creative briefs

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    Content that is informative, accurate, compelling, and catchy is at the heart of every effective life science marketing campaign. That requires good ideas and talented creatives first and foremost. But those creatives, even the most seasoned ones, can benefit from a consistent, structured process that establishes guidelines for each piece of content.

    That’s where creative briefs come in.

    A creative brief is a document that clearly spells out the expectations, the focus of, and the intent behind any piece of content–written or visual–that a marketing team creates. The creative brief acts as a framework to align your content perfectly with your broader business goals, capture your brand voice in each piece of messaging–and do it all on a tight schedule. Creative briefs are useful not just for content creators, but for the whole life science marketing team. 

    Creative briefs take many shapes and forms. What you include in your creative brief should reflect your unique organization and marketing initiatives. However, there are essential components in every top-notch creative brief, specifically catering to life sciences:

    Component 1: Type of content and intended use/distribution plan

    Create clarity and alignment cross-functionally by outlining the format of the content and how it will be used. Document the content type (such as one-pager, blog post or sales slide) and how it will be used (digital, print, presentation), and other important details. By outlining as many of these details as possible, you will help your cross-functional teams understand the context behind the content and can help them during the MLR review process. 

    Component 2: Goals and objectives

    Defining success and having benchmarks to quantify it is key to an ever-improving content strategy. Delineating performance objectives for the content, like unique visitors to the website or number of white paper downloads, will help the whole marketing team evaluate what’s working most effectively for future campaigns.  

    Component 3: Target audience

    A clearly defined audience is fundamental to determining the appropriate tone, vocabulary, and point-of-view for a piece of content. Letting your creative know exactly who they’re communicating with in a given piece goes a huge way in letting them tailor it appropriately. The MLR review team can benefit from having this information easily at hand as well as it will help them understand what feedback is most appropriate. 

    Component 4: Design direction (if applicable)

    Everyone who touches a piece of content should use the creative brief as their starting point, and that includes graphic designers–both in-house or external. Some images are appropriate for particular life science products that don’t work at all for others. For instance, people in a park on a sunny day may work for an allergy medication targeted toward the general public, but could strike the wrong note for a breathing apparatus. Letting your designers see the full intent and context behind the piece with the creative brief, and including very specific requests about mood, imagery, vetted logo, color palette and so on, smooths out the design process.

    Component 5: Key messages

    The strongest content strategies begin with clear, consistent messaging. The key messages section in your creative brief allow you to make sure that your content consistently gets across exactly what you need it to. In this section of the creative brief, you spell out major points – what the content is about–as well as terms, concepts, and phrases that need to be there for purposes of branding and compliance.

    For some pieces of content, this part of the creative brief may be a point-for-point outline of what you’re looking for. For others, it might be more general. Either way, it should be clear about what the content is expected to get across.

    The benefits of creative brief for promotional review

    The benefits of a creative brief

    Making the creative brief the starting point of your content creation process lets you do a lot up-front to prevent further work down the road. It lets you get all of your concepts vetted by all departments beforehand, so no one is surprised by what’s in a piece of content when it goes live. It lets all stakeholders bounce around ideas on what might work, and have their say on what will eventually appear on the screen or the page. This all adds up to two things: speed and quality.

    Move faster
    When only given a general idea of what a piece of content is supposed to be about, or look like (a blog title or a prompt, for instance) creatives can find themselves going off on tangents that are catchy, thoughtful, and well executed–but that don’t describe the product, hit the right organizational talking points, or speak to the right audience. Even if the content creator is basically on the right track, receiving only general, informal instructions can lead to a lot of back and forth: you may find yourself being contacted with questions about messaging, imagery use, and so on. Even easily clarified questions can slow down progress, especially when any party involved in the process is out of the office.

    A creative brief eliminates the need for all but the most important conversations. It specifies all the minute details, the vetted sources, the agreed upon keywords, and sets up the creative team to meet expectations as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. 

    Improved collaboration during MLR review
    Once a piece of content is wrapped and ready to be reviewed, if it is based on the clear framework of a creative brief, you’ll see huge efficiencies during the MLR review process. Instead of talking through content concepts or approaches the team can be strictly focused on claim linkages, vetting specific language, and ensuring everything is compliant.


    At Vodori, we make it easy for life science companies to move fast–because healthcare can’t wait. We empower companies to move quickly with cloud software that is innovative, life-science focused, and delivered with an exceptional customer experience.

    Annalise Ludtke

    Senior Manager, Marketing Communications at Vodori

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