Case studies have long been used as both a B2B and B2C business development tool to tell memorable stories of what brands do using real life examples. In our old lives as PR people, we utilised case studies in media relations campaigns for brands from NHS Blood & Transplant to McDonald’s (for its ground-breaking McJob campaign).
If you read our blog, you’re probably used to us banging on about the power of storytelling in business. In the digital age, where we are constantly bombarded with easily forgettable content and traditional advertising/marketing/PR is increasingly being ignored, case studies really are king. They say a picture tells a thousand words but when it comes to making a complex buying decision such as appointing a lawyer or an interior designer, or signing up for an MBA, stories (combining words and images) are vital for winning new business.
Almost every business or organisation we work with struggles to articulate what they have to offer and, even when they do, it’s difficult to capture and then hold the attention of their audiences without regular, useful, memorable content. We often find that businesses are ‘missing a trick’ in terms of cross-selling to existing clients and targeting new markets, by not telling the full story of what they do through the eyes of the end user.
For one of our property sector clients, for example, we managed to use digital communications to position them as thought leaders in their marketplace and build a strong brand presence over a six month campaign. However, we were lacking real life case study material that allowed us to convert this captive audience into new clients. We’ve helped put a simple system in place that allows them to capture information about real live projects that they’re working on which we can turn into in-depth case studies combining our knowledge of the ‘brand story’ with the technical details of the project. Because we no longer have to follow the journalist’s agenda as we did when we worked in PR, we can embed a human interest angle to the case study whilst still protecting client confidentiality. This has also been incredibly successful for our construction sector client who relies on the quality of the case studies we produce to stand out in the tender process.
These case studies are deliberately built for the digital age of online self-publishing but can be used in a whole host of ways and in a whole host of platforms from blogs to brochures.
So, where does video come in? Accountancy firm Armstrong Watson has been utilising video content to position itself as a thought leader on its youtube channel for a while now but it recently also introduced video case studies of family businesses which they offer advice to. This gives them content ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ about how they’ve helped real businesses, which gives potential clients something really tangible to get their teeth into. (Check them out here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ArmstrongWatson).
In January every year for the past few years, the ‘digital gurus’ have predicted that it will be the year of video content but we’re now starting to see SMEs really embracing the idea. Video content is notoriously difficult to get right but it doesn’t have to be hugely costly or hugely high quality. We recently heard from the Managing Partner of a law firm that was an early adopter and still a leader on using social media for business development, that his next priority would be embracing video technology to showcase the expertise and personalities within the firm. And he wasn’t just talking about the odd nice piece of ‘produced’ content, but a mini studio set up in the office which the team could use on an ongoing basis to bring existing and prospective clients even closer to what they do in a down to earth and engaging way.
We’re now formally working in partnership with our friends at Rejuvenate Productions to offer an integrated package of comms and video production expertise to coach clients who want to use their biggest advocates – their existing clients and customers – to tell their story to the outside world. If you’re a business that relies on word of mouth referrals, then this could really boost your new business pipeline! Engage with us now to discuss how it could work for your business.