Nothing will make your head explode like writing an intelligent and actionable creative brief. The formulation is simple. We stole ours — Who, What, Why — from the first day of journalism class. Whether you're writing about a man bites dog or crafting words for the rebranding of Nike, these three questions will serve you well., and they're the bedrock of effective strategies. The idea is to be as precise with the language as possible. It should be dry (non-executional), a tad boring, and doesn't tip your hand as to the direction you want to go. Make the creative team work for it. Just don't give it away. From precision, you can manage accountability with creatives and clients.

Sure, you can add a few garlands to your brief, like "tone" and "consumer sentiment," but in reality, they never really move things along. "Who "describes the audience (please, one audience per brief). "What" is the claim. And "Why" is the support, or the SINGLE reason audience would be swayed by your claim. Let me repeat that last part: it's the SINGLE bit your target will believe and hopefully remember of your outlandish claims.

Let's pretend we want to sell a little red sports car. "Who" are well-heeled executives who just paid their last tuition bill. "What?" you deserve to splurge on this car as a celebration.

Huh? What does this have to do with medical device marketing or selling anything in the healthcare realm? Well, it turns out just about everything. Substitute our middle-aged doctor, who's been in practice for 15 years, and give them permission to buy a premium device brand. Who, What, Why works anywhere for any product or service.

Now back to the accountability thang. Say you ask for a spot to sell a little red sports car, and the team pitches you on a Geico-type ad that features a red unicorn with tires. Ask simple questions like how does this relate to the brief? It's a buzzkill, but it will keep you on track with your brand. If everybody signs off on the brief, everyone is responsible for making the magic happen.