Insights July 31, 2020

How to create a transcreation brief that gets you what you want

Living Word
By Living Word

You know your brand inside out, you’ve got a powerful creative, and you know that transcreation will make it fly across borders. But what are the magic ingredients that go into transcreated copy that is as impactful as the original, you ask? A talented linguist (we’ve got you covered) and a good brief, we say.

What information should a good transcreation brief include?

  1. Context

Chances are that you know your brand better than anyone, but how do you jot down the essential bits in a brief? A good pointer is to assume that the linguist knows nothing about your brand. Go back to basics. What characterises the brand? What adjectives describe it best? Why should the target audience care? Why and how does the brand make life easier for its target audience?

Next, drill down on the objective of the creative. Is it a new product launch? If so, including all the relevant details about the product is key. Is it a campaign to raise brand awareness, drive action or something else? Is this campaign a follow-up on previous campaigns? If so, this is important for the linguist to know – and references from previous work are also crucial, but more on that later.

What seems obvious to you might not be obvious to others, so assumptions are your worst enemy when it comes to the briefing process. The more specific knowledge you can extract from your brain and get down onto paper, the better.

  1. Target audience

Paint a detailed picture of your target audience, and you’ve already come quite far. What characterises the target audience? Which three adjectives describe them? What do they already know about your brand, and why should they care? What are their age, gender, pain points, aspirations and attitudes? The more detail, the easier it is for the linguist to craft copy that speaks to the target audience in their language.

  1. Tone of voice

The message is important, but how the message comes across is just as important. When crossing borders, formality levels often need to be considered. With a good audience description, this should be a no-brainer for the linguist – but a good brief should also make it clear how you want people to feel, think and react. Is your brand serious, light-hearted or quirky? Does it stir the audience’s emotions or aim to be balanced and level-headed at all times? Is it cool, youthful, trendy, or perhaps very traditional? Do you want the copy to entertain, inform, engage or spark curiosity?

  1. Creative freedom

Transcreation is a balancing act in order to both be truly creative and stay true to the brand, so it is helpful for everyone if the brief outlines how much creative freedom the linguist has. Some prefer to stick to the core message, while others are happy to let the transcreator freestyle – as long as it is on brand and on brief, of course. Either way, this loops back to point one: context. A good description of the brand reduces the risk of brand dilution.

  1. Dos and don’ts

It is always important to be very clear about any dos and don’ts when it comes to particular wordings. Perhaps you want some words to remain in English (let’s be honest; some words and expressions travel well, while others don’t). If you know that you like this, but not that, also include that in the brief. Details like these will save time during the review and feedback phase and make it easier for the linguist to hone in on what you like.

  1. Reference materials

Include any relevant reference materials along with the brief: brand guidelines, storyboards, visuals, work from previous campaigns – you name it. Anything that provides visual aid or brand insight is a great help for the linguist when crafting the message.

Does this seem like a lot of work? Trust us: a good brief can save both time and money down the line, so you’ll thank yourself later.