When you hear the term case study, your mind may immediately turn to medical or scientific studies, conducted over time, and published in student textbooks or online, in password-protected journals.
The case study is no longer reserved for these fields. Now, you can use the case study in your brand marketing strategy, to build your brand—no matter your type of business, industry, or niche.
The Brand Marketing Strategy Benefits of Case Studies
A business case study can be defined as a chronicled retelling of actual events, used as a social-proof tool for building a brand. When your brand publishes case studies as part of its brand marketing strategy, you can expect quicker conversions, more conversions, and more PR from your brand advocates.
Here are just a few features that a well-planned and well-written case study will bring to your brand marketing strategy:
- The Power of Story: We speak often about the effectiveness of wrapping marketing in story. People have learned through the vehicle of story since before the development of spoken language, and therefore, it is essential to our learning processes. Really, a case study is a story. There is an introduction (setting), a client (protagonist), direct quotes (dialogue), a main problem (antagonist), challenges (conflict), and your product or service as the solution (resolution).
- Social Proof: Your brand can spend all day, all month, all year telling consumers how great it is…but it would be wasting its breath. Consumers are naturally sceptical of “endorsements” that come straight from the brand; they assume ulterior motives. However, if the endorsements come from their peers, those endorsements are considered to be highly credible. Third-party recommendations are priceless to your brand marketing strategy, and case studies are one [very effective] way to circulate them.
- Promise-Keeping: Any brand can make a promise, but the most successful ones ensure that consumers see evidence of those promises being kept. Published case studies serve as fantastic methods for accomplishing this.
- Loyalty Building: Not only will case studies help to convert, bringing more potentially loyal clients on-board, they tend to elevate participants to a higher level of influence. You see, when a client is asked to be the subject of a case study, that person automatically feels more vested in your brand. He or she will point others toward the case study, for personal notoriety reasons, and will endorse the brand outside the case study for associative reasons. It is rare that a case study subject does not become a brand champion.
- Teaching and Demonstration: Through the retelling of a case study, your brand has unique opportunities to not only teach people about your brand, but to demonstrate the values that drives your brand. Not only will people feel they can make informed decisions, those with similar values and problems (your ideal clients) will feel drawn to your brand.
- Decision Ownership: Every consumer feels pride in his or her best purchases—and that pride is bolstered when you give them the power to feel like they’re making independent, well-researched decisions. Case studies give them that research—that social proof—so they can take ownership, feel pride, and as a result, spread the word.
Tips for Writing Case Studies
As a general rule, case studies should follow a story format:
- Introduction of Client
- Introduction of Client’s Problem
- Complications of the Problem
- Client’s Reaction to the Problem, with Climax at its Worst
- Resolution to the Problem (your product or service)
- Happy Ending
And case studies should follow these guidelines:
- presented as a story, but always based on real people and real events
- written in past tense (e.g. sat instead of sit, had instead of have)
- free of jargon, or with any industry terminology explained in footnotes
- written with learning objectives in mind (i.e. the “takeaways” you wish for your audience)
- written with a decision point in mind (i.e. the decision you want your reader to make)
- with a spirit of Show Don’t Tell (i.e. tell the story and allow the reader to make deductions, rather than telling them how to feel/decide)
If your ideal clients experience different problems, or different types and degrees of the same problem, then we suggest writing a case study for each circumstance. Then, you have the ability to prescribe specific case studies to match specific situations. Start with the most pressing or the most common and work from there.
We also suggest publishing your case studies in the places where your ideal clients are most likely to find them—the more case study exposure, the better your brand marketing strategy will perform.
Are you ready to learn more about writing case studies and creating and building upon your brand marketing strategy? Then you’re ready for our B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, a full-day, brand-immersive experience designed for the most driven brand owners and managers. Register today for more brand visibility, credibility, and profitability.