Case studies are extremely valuable for demonstrating credibility or “right to play.” They can very quickly and efficiently communicate credibility, experience, expertise and subject matter depth. Particularly in services sectors where client confidentiality precludes client references in marketing literature or public conversation.
It is important (I would even say imperative) that case studies demonstrate how the core competencies and principles of the organization were applied to make a difference and affect excellent outcomes. The difference can be in terms of effectiveness, efficiencies, cost, and/or quality, for example. The case study directly links cause (core competencies) and effect (improved outcome for the client).
More Than a Slogan
Tag lines and company descriptors z(your first principals) should be identifiable in the root cause of the excellence achieved in executing against required deliverables.
Beginning with this singular animating idea, the case studies should communicate the value of organizational competencies and principals in achieving improved outcomes. How the inspired deployment of all you do allows you to execute at a level unrivaled by your peers.
Ultimately, what you achieve is a disciplined and effective go-to-market messaging that will advance your position as the preeminent player in your field, engaged in solving complex and dynamic challenges.
Considerations for Case Studies
While it was not originally intended for this purpose, the Balanced Scorecard developed by Kaplan & Norton at Harvard provides a useful outline for how you may like to think about case studies and the marketing materials that flow from them (The case study content can and should be repurposed for marketing and sales enablement use.) This Balanced Scorecard was developed as a management tool and sought to provide more holistic and forward-looking indicators of performance.
Keeping these KPIs in mind will help ensure a compelling narrative. A narrative that is far more powerful than an iteration of tasks or features/benefit statements because it is tied to KPIs. This is not to say that delineating feature/benefit statements is not valuable, rather, that there is value in connecting it to your core operating principals and how they provide superior value to your clients' KPIs.
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