Customer reviews on the website, product or service feedback shared on social media, ratings given to the brand on external opinion platforms – these are just some examples of tools companies operating in various industries provide their customers or business partners with to strengthen their social proof.
Effective case study – table of contents:
Among such solutions, however, a properly developed case study that presents a deep and comprehensive analysis based on actual performance (involving context, mechanisms with reasons for success or failure) stands out. In this article, we’re going to focus on a case study. First, we’ll describe exactly its core characteristics and then we’ll show ways to develop this type of text to ensure that you achieve your business goal.
What is a case study?
A case study is a detailed analysis of a specific event, situation, person, group or institution to acknowledge its aspects, context, problems, applied solutions or achieved results. It is a frequently applied research method in such domains as social sciences, medicine, psychology, education and of course, business.
Running a case study aims at providing in-depth analysis and conclusions about a specific situation, which helps to better understand its mechanisms and the effectiveness of taken actions. It most typically includes such elements as:
- Description of the situation – Introduce the issue by providing context, data and information about the people, places or events covered by the analysis.
- Identifying the problem or goal -defining and singling out the main problem, challenge or goal that is relevant to the person or organizationv
- Analysis – careful study of the details, causes, effects, decisions as well as actions related to the selected situation.
- Solutions or approaches – propose possible solutions, strategies or approaches to adopt (or have been adopted) to solve a problem or achieve a goal.
- Selecting the best solution – determine which of the proposed solutions is the most appropriate, reasonable and potentially effective.
- Implementation – discuss how the selected solution or strategy was implemented in practice.
- Results and conclusions – summarize the results achieved after implementing the solution and drawing conclusions from the analysis.
What role does a case study play in business?
In a business context, a case study usually refers to an analysis of the activities of a specific company or organization, as well as a collaboration between two entities. It comes as, for example, a description of an implemented business strategy, team management evaluation, tactics for launching a new product on the market or a story of increasing competitive advantage in one’s industry.
Nonetheless, the main purpose of a case study is typically to show off one’s expertise – that is, to boast about the results achieved for clients or the implementations carried out demonstrating the services offered. In this respect, it is a tool that provides a kind of social proof – that’s why it is commonly used in the B2B industry as part of a summary of activities for a client.
How to write a case study? key steps
A case study can take a variety of forms – from a written report published in the form of a press or company communication channel release to a comprehensive multimedia presentation shown exclusively at internal meetings. How then should you prepare for carrying out a case study? Below we point out the key steps to take.
- Choose the right situation and define the goal
- Present the context
- Creating a clear and concise text
At the very beginning, you need to think about the situation you would like to describe and the goal of the prepared case study. These two issues are inextricably linked, because depending on what you want to prove (e.g., the benefits achieved for a customer in a marketing campaign), you will need an actual situation where you managed to achieve the expected results. The results must confirm your stated goal (a case study is written “for a thesis”).
Once you have selected a situation to describe, you should focus on analyzing it thoroughly. This is because the case study should include a description of the situation, i.e., the context, challenges and proposed solutions, and then also present the effects of the implemented actions or lessons learned (depending on the type of situation described). It is at this stage that you make sure you have access to sufficient information and data on the selected issue so that you do not encounter difficulties during the writing itself.
After completing the previous steps, you can start writing. When creating the text, make sure to:
- Include all the relevant information for an outsider (try to take the perspective of a person who does not know the context and needs the full picture),
- Make it easy to understand (avoid specialized vocabulary if possible, although try to show your expertise),
- Keep it short (in this regard, quality is more important than quantity),
- Maintain a logical sequence (start by describing the situation, then move on to the challenges, next describe the implemented actions, and at the very end focus on the effects and conclusions).
Treat the preparation of the case study as a project, which requires defining the goal and dissecting the steps (tasks). Transparency in its management will provide you with the kanban board available in Firmbee.
With its help, you can keep track of the progress of the work, and assign status, priority and stage of completion to each step. It also enables you to share the results of these activities with your stakeholders (thanks to the view-sharing feature) as well as track and control the budget spent.
Case study – summary
Properly developed case studies are the best way to achieve your goal – to convince customers to use your service, to understand the causes of the problems faced by the company or to analyze the effectiveness of the decisions taken (implemented strategies, business actions).
Following the above-mentioned steps, in turn, will ensure that you develop an effective and successful case study.Just don’t forget that if you create a text describing your cooperation with a client or partner (and, for example, plan to make it public on your channels or enter it in an industry competition), you have to obtain written permission for such actions, and then send the text for authorization.