Designing an Effective Case Study to Help Tell Your Story

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Everybody loves a good story, and that thought is not just a popular line of prose. It’s a truth based in science. A group of Princeton University neuroscientists have found that stories activate sensory centers in our brains. “Communication is a shared activity resulting in a transfer of information across brains. The findings shown here indicate that during successful communication, speakers’ and listeners’ brains exhibit joint, temporally coupled, response patterns.” It is concluded that when a listener hears a well-told story, their brain reacts as if they are experiencing it in person. It is as if humans are pre-programmed to tell and share stories with one another. The basis for the success of many public speeches is the case the presenter incorporates within the content, and while a well-told joke can draw attention to the story, it is the well-told story that delivers on the message.

In marketing we are all about attracting customers for our business and our clients’ businesses. Case studies are investigations of real-life scenarios and experiences of individuals, groups or organizations. Real or perceived, an effective case study can help produce increased leads for B2B companies. Kristie Ritchie, VP of marketing at Upshot, says that case studies should be crafted anytime a marketer or company tries something new or innovates the brand, product or its approach. “Really, anything can be turned into a case study if you have the right information and story,” she says.

However, developing an effective case study can be a complex process that requires a strategy for focusing on an organization’s specific skills and experiences that catch the interest and attention of targeted consumers. “Case studies are meant to mirror the diversity of customers to make it easier for customers to see themselves or their use case,” says Sam Balter, senior marketing manager at HubSpot.

The process of developing an effective case study begins with the strategy. Determine the purpose around a specific targeted consumer audience and find an example where the details parallel the goals of that specific market segment. Know all there is to know about the market’s wants and needs and tailor the message around the most prominent solution. Back up the story line with facts; credibility is paramount if the receiver of the communication is to have confidence in the story’s claims.

Select a format that adequately supports the story’s premise and the facts of the case. Use charts, infographics and podcasts where appropriate. Keep in mind that that everyone comprehends messages differently. Make the supporting documentation easy to find and comprehend, utilize bold text, italics and bulleted lists to break up rambling text.  Be concise and get to the point quickly. Err on the side of brevity. Shoot for a great short story, not an unabridged novel. Stay on the message and be flexible. Be prepared to fine-tune the message and the format in order to make necessary adjustments to original assumptions. Tell the whole story including the ugly parts. Few readers will believe a perfect story that is without errors and challenges experienced along the way. Challenges overcome shows the communicator’s ability to navigate around initial failures to find success for customers.

People like to read and learn from others’ experiences, whether successful or failures. A well told and structured story about a case study can make the reader feel as though they are part of the plot and create confidence in the author’s abilities in a way that will make potential customers become ideal customers.

Junction Creative Solutions believes an effective content strategy adds value to our client’s business goals and objectives. Call 678-686-1125 today to learn how our experienced team of professionals are uniquely qualified to help you tell your story.