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Case Studies: Telling your business’ story

The power of story lies in its appeal to emotion and presentation of relatable material. Wuthering Heights, The Hobbit, Dante’s Inferno, The Count of Monte Cristo; epic stories are told and retold.

Story in business is also ubiquitous: Pour Your Heart Into It, tells of how Starbucks built an empire on selling an experience. The Accidental Billionaires reveals the details of Facebook’s founding, and A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers, need I say more? But you don’t have to be large enterprise or organization to have a good story.

Case studies relate your business solutions to the human experience.
When we tell our life stories, we don’t talk about how many pints of blood we have, or present a graph on the rate at which our hair turned grey over time; in the same way, most people are not interested in a business’ data (unless considering investment). We prefer compelling stories about family, travels, or adversities overcome. Similarly, clients prefer to learn how your business solutions have worked to reveal a favoured outcome in the past.


Benefits of writing your business’ case studies:

  • Show don’t tell: your audience can decide for themselves whether you have a unique value for them, rather than you telling them why you have their solution.
  • Multiple formats: case studies can exist in print, electronically, in video, etc.
  • Communicate your differentiator: case study can demonstrate how your product, service, or solution solved a problem in a unique way.
  • It’s not boring: story draws an audience in and holds their attention.
  • Simplify: translate your business’ workings into something someone outside your business can understand or relate to.

Some templates will fit your product or service better than others. The following are template options for writing a compelling case study:

Format 1: Small Business Approach
Client name
    Background
    Challenges
    Approach
    Results

Format 2: Scientific Approach
Client name
    Introduction
    Research
    Method
    Data
    Results
    Conclusions

Format 3: Story Plot Curve Approach
    Introduction
    Inciting incident/crisis
    Rising action
    Climax
    Falling Action
    Resolution

Format 4: Synopsis with Narrative Approach
In point form:
    Current situation/tasks
    Solutions
    Effect of the solution

Narrative:
Reveal in paragraph form greater detail on the point form above.

One important thing to consider before writing and publishing a case study is to ask your client’s permission to reveal the details of their work with you.

By communicating your business’ solutions in case studies, you run the risk of a good story getting passed along, and even positioning yourself as an industry leader and innovator.

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