Five years or so ago I worked for a brilliant ECD who taught me many things I didn't learn till years later. (I have saved and still read some of the emails he wrote to me when I was angry or disconsolate about this matter or that.) He was that kind of guy.
In any event, this ECD had the knack for making things--even very complicated things--very simple. And one of the things he taught me was this. There is essentially only one brief in all of advertising. Or, perhaps, all briefs should answer one question: "Do you want to be part of the past or part of the future?"
In other words, do you want to be Sam Goody or iTunes?
General Motors or Toyota?
United Airlines or Virgin Atlantic?
Coke or Pepsi?
I thought of this today as I read Thomas Friedman in The New York Times. In an article titled "While Detroit Slept" he says: "our bailout of Detroit will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the mail-order-catalogue business on the eve of the birth of eBay. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the CD music business on the eve of the birth of the iPod and iTunes. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into a book-store chain on the eve of the birth of Amazon.com and the Kindle. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into improving typewriters on the eve of the birth of the PC and the Internet" You can read the whole thing here. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/10/opinion/10friedman.html?_r=1&hp
Again, drawing from Friedman, I guess you can phrase your briefs this way: "Whatever can be done, will be done. The only question is will it be done by you or to you."