The Curious Case of the Compelling Case Study ✍️ 🧠

brand strategy spiced advice Feb 27, 2024

A great story inspires your prospects and proves the point: Your product-slash-service-slash-company is pretty awesome. 

The value of a relatable case study, or “client success story,” cannot be understated. If you can compel someone to see themselves in your story, you have a rare opportunity to capture a lasting impression. “This person is me; those are my problems, the solutions were right in front of me the whole time…. “

If you have a curious nature and a little talent for storytelling, you can produce some of the most impactful assets in your marketing mix. 


ID the kind of clients/colleagues you want more of....way more.

If you want more of this kind of client, shout their successes from your logo’d rooftop. Think about your favorite people, the ones who give you energy instead of draining it. What makes them special, how do they fit seamlessly into your business model, and what have you done to level-up their bottom lines and business objectives? Set a strategy to illuminate a beacon for more of that kind of client. 


Be brave enough to ask for current client feedback for a public forum.

We can all be a little shy when it comes to asking a client for support, instead of the other way around. However, client success stories can elevate your sales cycle exponentially. There is no better way to provide proof--your solutions are the very best solutions--for a very select group of people.

Get a third party to do the deep dive into your partnership if you have to, but this is no time to play it small. Don’t deny your clients the opportunity to wax wonderful about you and how great you are. It’s a positive feedback loop, y'all! 

Choose some A-list clients to tell the story of your partnership. 

Make the ask. The worst that can happen is that they say “no.” The best that can happen is that their story serves as a force multiplier for attracting a whole lot more of that kind of client and boosting your business. 



Be ready to tell your side of the story: how did you deliver rags-to-riches?

A case study is only as good as the client’s perspective if you don’t balance it with the expert problem-solving and plan that *you* brought to the table. Do some deep thinking about your role as a turnaround artist and outline the exact steps you took to get there. You are not the hero of this story, but you are the knight in shining armor.

Writer, meet client. 

There is something to be said for bringing in a neutral party to get to the heart of your partnership. The client feels more psychologically safe to share things that may not put you in the best light 100% of the time; as well as sharing their redemptive experiences. What’s more, an uninvested investigator can facilitate extracting the key elements of the hero's journey without getting stuck in the minutiae of the details. 


Lean into the structure of storytelling. 

Describe the setting, How did you meet this person, and what were they dealing with at the moment, problems you knew just how to solve? Reveal their inner thoughts, what was it like to set off on something unknown and how did that decision impact the future of the business? What events shape the course of the story. How did [your name here] transform their life? What are they thinking now? How can this be a life lesson for everybody? 

Welcome to Visionville.

Don’t spend the entirety of your case study presenting the facts. People want more than a “how we did this” play-by-play. When you are about ¾ of the way through your narrative, after they have crawled through the glass to get here, paint a picture of Shangri-La; tell us how the client is living their best life and loving their life choices. Give us a glimpse of a bright, rosy-cheeked future where business isn’t breaking our backs, but building our legacy. 

Exit through the gift shop. 

Once we walk through the valley of before and after, now is the time to pull back the curtain and show us how the sausage is made. Since you haven’t made the reader slog through all of the step-by-step to get to the payoff, they are much more ready to receive the information you want to share. Put a cherry on that sundae with a “Get Your Own Success Story” call to action. Now you have the perfect vehicle for communicating your value, one part good read, one part marketing, one part sales tool. 


Squeeze the heck out of that effort and cross-purpose your ass off.  

How many ways can you rock your client’s success story? Let me count the ways. Share it as a blog post or a LinkedIn article. Share it when your leads are getting hot. Lay it out professionally and make printed copies available at your conference booth. Use client quotes as a testimonial. Tell the story from the 30’ perspective for your newsletter and then go a mile deep and inch wide to close a deal. Tag your client on social media and let them share the love (“Look Ma, I’m famous!”) — as long as their representation is flattering, they can’t help but share.


See It In Action

Check out this stellar sample <tips hat> for Campground

🚀 From stressed to distressed to best dressed.
Meet Jeremy. 
How Holden Beach RV Park Found its Water Wings 



The proof is in the pudding.
See a bushel of Stoned Fruit Case Studies


📸 Fruit photography: Taylor K Photo 

🎨 Custom "Evaluate the Value" graphic: Calvin Nelson