A rich man creates an amusement park featuring dinosaurs his team has hatched, as visiting scientists deal with the deadly consequences of interfering with nature.

 Three scientists with an interest in the paranormal are fired and decide to start their own business to capture ghosts, unleashing havoc on New York City in the process.

 On an exploratory visit to earth, aliens leave behind one of their own, who is found and befriended by a young boy, who helps the alien return home.

 If you can name these films, you’re not guessing. You’re actually using these brief verbal story links to take you directly to your memories of “Jurassic Park, “Ghost Busters,” and “E.T.”

Done with visuals, it looks like this:

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The mechanism that unites both the verbal and the visual languages? The brief expression of a clear, easily-understood core idea—in film speak, the Controlling Idea.

This one-line approach is used every day to pitch films to studio executives. Because if you can distill it to one line, you understand it. And if others understand it, and are interested in it, you can sell it. And if you can sell it, people pay to see it, own it and turn it into a memory—well, that’s a film that becomes iconic.

Brands and agencies can follow these same principles with great success. With your core controlling idea at the heart of every creative brief—that brief within your brief—briefs become superb. They guide the best creative and the best research and the fairest evaluation. It is that deep understanding of the meaning of your brand that separates the great creative brief from the mediocre. Mediocre briefs focus solely on the execution, burdened with generic outcomes and no clues—verbal or visual—as to the true identity of the brand.

Of course, there’s a strategy to the great brief and tactics to make that happen. Want to know more? Join us at TMRE where we will co-present with the advertising agency, Luckie & Co. on the idea of “Unlocking the Power of the Brief.” And be sure stop by our booth (#613) to see some examples of “Brands in Five Seconds” and chat more about making memories!

By Abigail Hollister (VP of Client Services) and Amy Shea (Senior Research Consultant)