Why you should start planning a case study today.
In this post, we’ll explain what case study videos are, show you five great examples, explain why they work so well, and tell you how you can borrow their tactics to gain trust with new audiences.
When making a purchasing decision, reviews and testimonials are pretty much a requirement today. You can find a testimonial shot on a smartphone on nearly any kind of product. But in the B2B world, it’s still a challenge to easily find objective reviews of niche products and services.
|Dear Google: |
Can you connect me to somebody who has invested thousands in this particular B2B product? I’d like to know if it’s worth our time, money, and reputation.
Thanks, Sally Shot-CallerBig Company, Inc.
Because the demand for this information exists, it’s a good idea to make sure your audience can see a testimonial of your product. And there’s no better way than to present that testimonial as a complete story, in the form of a case study video.
A case study features a real B2B customer discussing the impact a product or service had on their own business problems. The customer is the hero, and your product was the magic sword that shaved 20% off their overhead and got them promoted.
Good case studies don’t just shoot from the iPhone. They’re planned, produced, and edited to tell a real-world success story using your product.
But case studies are doubly powerful because they establish trust as they inform about a product. Instead of making predictable “marketing claims,” the video provides human proof. And with good production, they do it while entertaining, informing, and ultimately, selling.
So here are five great case study videos you can use to inspire and plan yours.
01: Built in Slack
Slack is a multi-billion dollar company with clients worldwide, but it’s useful for the most agile organizations too. And in this case, that was part of the point: small and large teams can find success together, as evidenced by Masks for Docs and Frontline Foods.
The video really shines where it gets specific, with Frontline Foods hero Jacinth Sohi explaining how they got rid of email and used Slack instead – and how their impact multiplied as a result.
Another great point: it finishes strong. “I don’t know if we would have been able to do it prior to Slack being around.” Hard to beat that.
Built in Slack was produced by Slow Clap, and screened at Slack Frontiers 2020 to much community love.
02: #WhyWeWork – Duet
Duet Display is an app that lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac. While that sounds basic, users like Jared Erondu use these displays for top-tier design, making for a beautiful demonstration of how the app enables him to create any time inspiration strikes.
Duet Display used a subtle hero story in their #WhyWeWork series of case studies: feature somebody compelling, but show up in the background as the “sage” or “muse” who enables their growth. So Duet captured Jared telling his story, shot footage to match, and is invisible but present: they’re hidden in the screen he uses to design.
In selling supplements to gyms, Six-Pack Shortcuts uses NewVoiceMedia for live data on prospect and closing rates in its call-center. The video uses immersive visuals to bring the audience into the unique culture at SPS, and lets the narrative tell the success story. The result is an uplifting and straightforward success story.
04: Marriott is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Marriott is a Trailblazer is the story of real employees serving a family that is a stand-in for all vacationers. To give vacationers everything they dream about, Marriott uses Salesforce to organize tasks and communications.
The Marriott video is a good example of what Hollywood screenwriters call “A Story/B Story.” The employees do their jobs, and the family has the time of their lives because of it. It’s easy to put yourself in the shoes of both parties, so it’s easy to understand how Salesforce helps Marriott succeed.
05: Valpak is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Valpak is a national company with thousands of contracts around the U.S. They managed all of their contracts on paper. That gave them problems. Sometimes the paper process delayed a customer’s advertising. Other times, those contracts got lost.
So Valpak switched to the most powerful CRM in the world and has enjoyed an upward trajectory ever since.
This video gets right to the problem without unnecessary chest-puffing, and it keeps the pace with visuals that explain the client meeting process, and the relief that Salesforce provided for their complicated workflow.
How to make a case study video
Creating a case study video depends less on creativity than on research. The story already happened, but you must figure out who to talk to, what questions to ask your customer, how to visually convey the story, and how to arrange the story to be clear and powerful.
Find a champion
Creating a case study worth watching starts with a great client, a “champion.” You’ll need somebody who will tell the story of your partnership, and tell it with enthusiasm.
You can create case studies with just text facts, but the audience will know that you’re the one telling the story, and not an objective third party. So capturing an authentic interview with someone that’s going to be a great ambassador for your company or product is key.
Plan your story around your audience
Before you begin writing, consider your audience. Answer the following questions:
- What do they believe is true about their industry?
- What result do they want?
- What do they need to hear to take action?
Write questions for your champion
With those answers in mind, you need to write questions for your champion. Here are good starters:
- What problem led you to seek us out?
- How was this problem affecting your business?
- What did we offer that interested you?
- How did our solution help your problem?
- What was the result of working with us?
- How do you feel now that we work together?
It’s a good idea to have a brief conversation with your champion before filming anything. Ask them these simple questions.
Estimate your audience’s reaction
Ask yourself, “Is this story believable? Is it too miraculous? If it’s a dramatic change, what will we need to prove it’s true?”
Get additional perspectives
Often the answer is corroborating testimony – which, outside of Law and Order, means another point of view. Somebody else to help tell the story.
Get data – even anecdotal data
Numbers are gold. If your client’s sales went up by 29%, that’s invaluable. But even a ballpark estimate can be valuable, such as “it used to take us half a day to load a truck. With the RoboGo, we can load one in around an hour.”
Choose the right music
The theme is already “success.” But music can provide the atmosphere and backdrop that makes the story enjoyable for your audience. While a software video may rely on Indie music popular with office jockeys, a cattle company will seem odd when paired with a generic version of The Arcade Fire.
Open with a hook
Get to the problem right away. “We sell copy machines, but they often broke during shipping.”
Give the solution a clear transition in the story
Sometimes the solution can get buried in your customer’s account. Don’t let that happen.
Give a pause before and after introducing the solution. “When we used PenguinPack, none of our machines broke on the trucks.”
The one thing you need associating with your brand is the solution. Your logo should be all over the place when the problem gets solved.
Keep the length just right
How long should a case study be? You may feel tempted to add too many details about your client. They may want to talk about their company mission. But this is neither the time nor the place.
If any shot, sequence, or sentence doesn’t support the story of how you succeeded together, cut it.
Don’t let them forget your brand
Use your colors and fonts in the video. Don’t use a sub-brand or anything confusing.
Include branding throughout the video, but only where it’s natural.
Finish with a result that highlights your brand. “If I hadn’t consulted Dr. Jaime” or “because we packed a RoboDog…”
Conclusion: you lived this story. Share it.
If you helped a customer, that’s a good thing. Others need your help to realize their dreams and potential. And a case study is often the right way to tell that story: you’re talking about a customer of yours, but done well, your audience will realize you’re talking about their success too.