Promote your business to potential customers with an example of a success story.
What is a case study?
Business case studies present successful examples of past work in order to attract new business. Case studies are a very effective content format — 73% of customers reference case studies before making B2B buying decisions.
A typical case study begins by describing the goal of the project. Then it shows the actions the company took to reach that goal, offering qualitative and quantitative data that demonstrate measurable success. It should come together in a well-designed report or video shared on the company website, in print or across social media channels.
Establish the goal.
Decide early on what you want to show with this case study and which individual case would be the best proof of your company’s value. What is it about this project that will inspire people to work with you? Start with the reason the client hired your company. What problem were you asked to solve?
Ask for permission and an interview.
Make sure the client is comfortable with being included in your case study. You’ll be publicly sharing this information, so client approval is essential. While you’re at it, you might ask for an interview or written testimonial. Never underestimate the power of direct quotes from happy clients — 95% of shoppers depend on reviews before making purchase decisions.
Collect quantitative data or qualitative research that proves the success of this partnership. Whether it comes in the form of dollars earned, units moved or smiles produced, it’s important to showcase results.
Choose a medium for the case study.
How you present your success story depends on the nature of your business and how much time and energy you’re willing to spend on it.
Case study for web.
Many businesses publish case studies on their websites. As mobile accounts for over 50% of web traffic, using the web to create a case study with responsive design to fit various screen sizes is important. Content on the web also lets you include hyperlinks to services, contact pages and other examples of past work. You can even add motion content in the form of animation or embedded video testimonials.
Case study for print.
If you think potential customers would prefer to learn about you through a printed case study, you can always adapt a web-based case study for print and add a downloadable PDF version to your website.
Case study for video.
If you work in media or if video footage is relevant to your work, you should create a video. If your client is willing to be interviewed, record their testimonial and cut it into a compelling video case study.
Tips for writing a great case study.
Tell a good story.
Outline the story and find the narrative arc. What were you hired to do? How did you do it? What background information do you need to include? Get right to the point to draw readers or viewers in and hold their attention.
Use imagery that engages and helps tell the story. Avoid boring your audience with too many dry statistics or hard-to-read charts and graphs. Infographics can show data in an interesting way and drive home the point that your solution was the best solution.
Highlight your results.
As you would with any report, use design elements to make your big achievements stand out. Lean on colour and white space, pull quotes and any imagery that bolsters your case. For video and web case studies, use animation to draw attention to your most important points.
Add a call-to-action.
Direct readers to engage your services, perhaps with a link or phone number connecting them to your sales team. Drive home the impression that you can do for them exactly what you did in the featured project.
Case study examples.
Each of the following examples demonstrates successful case study methods — the types of cases and deliverables that drive new business.
Philly Koji Co. logo design.
In this design-focused case study, designer James Viola tells the story of creating the logo mark for a new company. Viola worked with the business owner to narrow down ideas before moving on to sketches. After a few false starts, they agreed on a direction and moved on to typography and colour exploration. The final result is a unique logo mark, a happy client and a proud designer.
Mobility mobile ticketing app.
This web-based case study uses text, photos, wireframe drawings and screenshots effectively. It presents the challenge clearly, briefly covers the research and then shows the work. From wireframes to design to reception, the proof of this project’s success is clear and directly measured by user ratings of the app.
Virgin Atlantic blog.
This four-page case study is simple and persuasive. With lifestyle photography, use of the brand’s primary colour, one easy-to-read infographic and a pull quote from the stakeholder, this study makes a solid case and backs it up with real data.
MTV Networks global rebrand video.
This case study combines animation, text and video to present Mood Swing, a global rebrand based on emotions. With a single two-minute video and a single data point highlighting success (the 2019 Clio award), this case study gets right to the point. It’s a colourful, high-energy presentation of the new MTV.
Arizona Office of Tourism.
This four-minute video case study pairs voice-over narration and music with beautiful images of the Arizona landscape, commercial clips and shots of billboards and print ads. The narrator acknowledges the difficulties of promoting tourism during times of national strife and economic downturn and shows how the agency, Moses Inc., overcame those obstacles. Through creative use of Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop, they transformed road signs into infographics proving their success.
Grand Rapids Public Museum.
This video case study demonstrates the success of creating a mobile app to lead scavenger hunts throughout the museum. A museum employee narrates the video and describes why the project works well. And a testimonial of a twelve-year-old app user offers a unique proof point.
Put your best foot forward.
A platform like Adobe Creative Cloud for teams is one option for case study work. With apps like Adobe InDesign to lay out the pages of your case study, Adobe Stock to find images and design templates and Premiere Pro to include high-quality video, you can best exhibit all of your company’s past successes. Access to assets and data across your team will help you efficiently create a case study that brings in the business.
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