How to write a creative brief for a website

Published on Monday, March 2nd, 2009 (0) Comments

‘Logo Design Made Easy’ was assigned by Henderson Robb Group to create a new website for Canada’s oldest, largest and most distinguished family of massage therapy schools. WCCMT Website link


Here is the creative brief we prepered with Henderson Robb Group Inc.

Objectives Driven Creative Brief

Project Name: Website Refresh
Client: Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy (CCMH) and the West Coast College of Massage Therapy (WCCMT) – Affiliates
Date: Wednesday August 29, 2007

About the CCMH and WCCMT

With a foundation built on over a half century of quality education, service and experience, CCMH provides the opportunity for a unique and rewarding career as a Registered Massage Therapist. WCCMT provides the same with about 24 years of experience. Programs include a balance of theoretical, practical course work, experience in on-site teaching clinics and the option to practice their massage and client care skills in our Hospital Outreach and Community Outreach programs. CCMH is made up of four campuses (Toronto, Kitchener, Calgary and Halifax) while WCCMT is made up of two (Victoria and New Westminster). The WCCMT is widely renowned for their quality education and experience in Canada, more so than the CCMH, and accounts for the larger part of the student body.

In terms of branding for the website it is critical to note that the CCMH and WCCMT are affiliates and both equally renowned so therefore they should be equally represented in all communication materials. A brand strategy is in progress with a communications plan to follow and will be shared upon completion.

Scope of Work:

Website Design is part of an overall Website Refresh and Branding Exercise

Why are you advertising?

• Build revenue and increase enrollment
• The goal is to build a global brand name in the education of massage therapists and spa practitioners.
• Communicate to corporations for partnership opportunities
• Communicate to the public at large

Given the labour shortage in the spa industry worldwide, the president wants to position the company as the ‘best of breed’ globally, highlighting that Canada has the most comprehensive requirements for the training of massage therapists in the world and that they are the only National company solely dedicated to the training of massage and hydrotherapists.

Target Audience:

The primary target audience is potential students and current students who are “intelligent, serious, committed, career minded people.” They are on the internet at least once a day, using it primarily for research and email and secondarily for online shopping, banking, news, work and entertainment. They are health conscious, athletic and computer savvy.

Current students live in or around the surrounding area of the campus they are attending; Toronto/ Cambridge, Halifax, Calgary, Victoria or New Westminster. Note that the CCMH expressed interest in attracting international students, specifically the Halifax campus which is mostly comprised of local students. The Toronto campus is mainly comprised with international students of Russian and Asian descent.

They are approximately 17-55 years old (the average age is 27) with the majority being females (80%). These users have some form of post-secondary education and are looking for a career change (from retail or service jobs, health care, the trades and military), or are fresh out of high school and exploring educational opportunities. A significant minority come to CCMH with full or partial university degrees or other college training. It should also be noted that many individuals come to massage therapy as a career change

The secondary target audiences are alumni, other companies (for CCMH to develop relationships with partners like Global resort owners to aid in job placement for graduates), faculty, military personnel (in Halifax) and the general public who want to learn about their Massage Therapy Clinic services.

Why the average users visits the CCMH site:

1. Prospective students – To find specific information regarding CCMH courses, programs, events, open houses and the opportunities available. Pursuing a career in Massage Therapy and the co-ops offered by CCMH
2. Current Students – To obtain schedules, start dates, course information, faculty phone numbers and other contact information and view the photo gallery
3. Alumni – To view job postings and continuing education options
4. General Public – To obtain information about CCMH

Why the average users visits the WCCMT site:

5. Prospective students – Review course information, retrieve contact info and resources, read news updates, view job postings and the virtual tour
6. Current Students – View job postings, current events, check course failures and find contact info
7. Alumni – View educational opportunities, check intern clinic schedules, read news updates and find contact info
8. General Public – View intern clinic schedule and services

What will attract an audience to your brand/ product/ service?

• An effective staff that is passionate, engages and communicates (brand advocacy/ inward marketing)
• Brand recognition of product/ service
• Design and graphics
• WCCMT Campus locations
• CCMH’s dominance, experience, world leader, educational pioneers
• For Prospective Students:
• Reputation, program availability and high success rates of obtaining a career as a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) after graduating from CCMH
• For prospective partners
• Reputation for being the most highly regarded Massage Therapy school in Canada and therefore quality of their graduating students who could go on to work for the potential partners
• Massage Therapy Clinic Services

What is your message?
What message do you want to communicate in the first 3 seconds a visitor sees your site? What are the 3 main take-away messages? What do you want the customer to understand about this product/service?

TBD once brand strategy is complete.

Some initial thoughts:
1. CCMH offers quality and accredited programs
2. CCMH has high success rates of obtaining a career as a Massage Therapist after entering the program
3. CCMH is a people/service company – we have passionate instructors whose mission is to help students succeed in a welcoming and warm environment
4. WCCMT is an industry leader due to their successful performance on board exams, high graduation rates and percentage of grads who obtain related careers.

What are your competitive advantages? Benefits offered

(price, look, value)?
– Reputation as the most experienced leader in the industry
– History in massage therapy (CCMH founded in 1946 and WCCMT founded in 1983)
– Quality, accredited courses that allow students career and educational advancement opportunities
– WCCMT are industry leaders due to their successful performance on board exams, high graduation rates and percentage of grads who obtain related careers.

What are the brand image/ tone and manner you wish to project?

Committed to the community Warm
Encouraging – Adaptable
Inspirational – Integrity ( Sincere, honest, accountable)
Passionate – Trustworthy
Intelligent (students, potential students, instructors) – Stable
Innovative – Nurturing
Knowledgeable – Friendly (to students as well as faculty)
Open communicator – Holistic
Transformative (to students’ lives and careers) – Optimistic/Positive attitude

Communication Detail & Objectives:

(why does the client feel they need to do this?)
What is the competition like? What and how are they saying it? (Use descriptive words to describe the tone like conversational, professional, cool, intimate, etc.)


Kikkawa College (Toronto) –
Sutherland Chan (Toronto) –
Elmcrest College (Toronto) –
Canadian Theraputic College (Burlington) –
CDI College (Toronto, Mississauga, Kitchener)-
Medicx (Kitchener, London, Scarborough, Toronto, Brantford) –
Centennial College (Scarborough) –
ICT Northumberland (Halifax NS) –


Utopia Academy –
Okanogden Valley of Massage Therapy –
Vancouver School of Bodywork –
Sprott-Shaw Community College

Note: Majority of these sites are plain and outdated in terms of design, but is also very people focused. The sites are very flashy or interactive at first glance and are copy heavy. The tone is professional. An example of a more modern look and feel is

What needs to be said

(highlight in bullet form the content that needs to be written; sometimes this information is very specific other times it can be more directional information).
– What is the key focus
– Define the call to action
– Indicate if there is anything that must be said (third party research quote, etc.)
– Indicate how many words if you believe this might be an issue.

Creative Considerations:

Tell the creative team which items must be included in your project.
– Logos to be included? Yes CCMH and WCCMT logos
– Disclaimers
– Slogans
– Images, product artwork, etc.
– Sizing restrictions
– Cost restrictions – images, artwork, etc.

CCMH Website Design Feedback from site users (from Website survey)

CCMH faculty perceives the design as informative, interesting and welcoming.

As compared to the above competitors, the CCMH appears to be more informative but still outdated.

The overall design colours, background, fonts and layout are strongly disliked by the faculty, alumni, current and prospective students. They would like to see a site that is more modern looking with an improved navigation structure, as well as updated and accurate content.

Common images and colors that come to mind when thinking about the CCMH are students in class, massaging hands, CCMH logo, healthcare, students engaging in practical work, muscles, oils, lotions, blue, gold, yellow, green and earth tones.

Design Examples:

Refer to CCMH Brochure – good color scheme, contains current information and high quality photos.

Other sites to look for guidance

1. – they are the regulating college for the profession
2. – eye catching graphics, modern/professional photo’s
6. – printed sample in attached documents. A director from one of the campuses particularly like the home page because of the “Take a Tour” and ‘Apply now“ buttons on the bottom right corner. She liked them because it included an image and description about the link. She also felt it was important for students to see these buttons first in order to encourage more students to contact the school.

WCCMT Website Design Feedback from site users

(from Website survey)
Survey respondents perceive the design as outdated, boring, text heavy and disorganized, while some users are actually ok with the layout.

As compared to the above competitors, the WCCMT appears to be more professional but still outdated.

The overall design (colours, background and fonts), low visual quality and flat images are the major dislikes of the site design. As requested by a director, images should show:
– That grad students can work from a clinic, spa / resort, out of your home, on a cruise ship, etc.
– That Massage is for life from infancy to your senior years.
– Students learning about the human body, people stretching and receiving massages, the different groups they work with
– Students having fun learning
– Faculty with students
– No photos of empty hallways and classrooms
– The different spa modalities like Shiatsu, Reflexology, Hot Stone, Thai – what they look like
– Location! Many people move to Vancouver Island and take the program here because of the location. NOTE: pictures should be specific to the Victoria and New Westminster campus ( the New Westminster campus currently shows pictures of Vancouver)
– Spa etiquette, what should they wear, etc.
– See Kitchener campus site for good examples of photos to use –

Common colours and images that come to mind when thinking about the WCCMT are mountains, oceans, outdoors, nature, outdoor sports, community, fresh, clean, blue green, forest green, pastels.

Design Examples:

Images on this site –
Bloom Wellness Site –
Brochure Institute –
University of Victoria –
Eveline Charles –

More creative resources: acts resource and a conduit for interested students looking to locate a school in their area. This site charges a fee for all referrals – This is a referral site we use.

Look at and

Will you need additional collateral materials to support the ad/ campaign?

Not yet.

What will be your measure of success (accomplishments) from the ad/ campaign?

# of websites hits, response to open house turnout, create calls re. admissions

Are there special provisions for lead retrieval/ qualifying/ processing?

Contact Us form, emails and calls directly to campus

Will campaign be a “one-off” or used long-term? If repeating, at what intervals?

Used long-term

Venues for placement?



Concept Development
3 website design concepts
Home page, one secondary page and one campus page per concept
Note: One overall website will be created and branded with CCMH and WCCMT.


Design and production schedules? Start date: Tuesday Sept 4, 2007
Materials for due date: TBD

Internal Creative Presentation: Monday Sept 10, 2007
Client Creative Presentation: Tuesday Sept 11, 2007
Product release date/ Service start up/ campaign launch: w/o Oct 29nd or Nov 5 the site will launch

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