Picture your customers. If we were to ask them now, how would they describe your business?

They would probably start describing your products or services, and perhaps even talk about the customer experience, but would fall short of mentioning anything else about you.

When every business looks and feels the same, it’s more important than ever to differentiate your company and build a brand that customers can immediately recognise and relate to. 

To do so, you need to create a connection with your customers through storytelling.

Do they know your history or how your business came about? What pushed you to solve this particular problem? What makes you different from the competition? Are they able to put a face behind the business? I would bet that most don’t.

More and more businesses turn to video as a way to easily and efficiently share their story and values with their customers. Thanks to case study videos, their business is no longer one among many, but a unique and special company that people feel connected to and support every time they buy from them.

And guess what? It’s working. As we’ve previously mentioned in another post, using videos drastically increases conversions on websites by 134% according to some studies, and drives more traffic for a lower cost on social media.

So how can you do the same for your business? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a case study video?

A case study video is the opportunity for a company to make an impression on a viewer and talk about who they are in a more relatable and authentic way. A great case study video feels raw and unfiltered and is designed to stir up emotions – you let people go behind-the-scenes of your business and discover the human side of your organisation. 

You want to be the opposite of a flat and expected corporate announcement, where the only goal is to play it safe. Speak directly to the heart of your audience by being truthful and share your imperfections. In fact, the more you let your guard down and show your struggle, the more people will relate to you and see you less as a faceless company.

It’s important to note that a case study is not necessarily an ad either. While the two genres can cross over, an ad is more commercially driven in its intention, intending to push the viewer to take an immediate action. Instead, a case study feels closer to a branding exercise, where the goal is to influence the viewer’s perception of the company or product. The intention is here more subtle: you want to build trust over time and don’t expect the viewer to take action immediately. 

For example, a marketing agency might decide to include a case study on their website, showcasing how they work with their clients, highlighting the great rapport they build with their partners and excellent results they deliver. No call-to-action. Ideally, the case study is good enough to make a strong impression on the viewer and convince them of the high-standard of quality of the agency. When the right time comes, the hard part of convincing the client will already be done, and the agency will be an obvious choice for their next project.

What makes a good case study video?

The goal of a case study video is to change the perception of your business or product in the eyes of your viewer and convince them that you are the right business for the job. Plain and simple.

How can you achieve this?

First off, create a connection with the viewer. Your video should not feel ‘corporate’ or bland, but rather touch your audience so that they can relate to you. You are not a faceless corporation, but rather a partner in solving their problem. You are not after a one-off transaction, but rather here to build a strong and lasting partnership. You get the idea.

Second – and this goes without saying – your video should be engaging. Avoid cliches. Instead, be cheeky, and create off-the-cuff segments to surprise and delight your audience. Is your CEO delivering yet another budget announcement in his office in front of a camera? Why not change the scenery and do the same being surrounded by employees or casually strolling through your factory to show that your company is more than just accounting? The sky is the limit.

Third, your video needs to convince your audience to be truly effective. And what more convincing than using social proof from your very own customers? Don’t talk yourself up, but instead tell the story from the customers’ point of view, letting your customers do all the praising for you. Most people tune out when a company does all the talking, but immediately relate to the same message delivered by customers just like them. After, do you believe more the product description of the thousand reviews of other customers?

A good case study video is also the opportunity to address separately each of your different target audiences. Indeed, while your product or service might be used by vastly different segments (students, families, homeowners, retirees etc), it’s important to cater your messaging so it relates to their specific pain points. 

Therefore, don’t hesitate to adapt your message into multiple case study videos for each of your target audience – the more targeted, the more likely they will captivate and convince your audience. 

Finally, do not need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the structure of your case study. A true and tested approach of Problem / Solution / Result will work in most cases. First you describe the pain points of your clients. Then you demonstrate how your solution unlocks the situation. Finally you highlight how your customer is now in a better place thanks to your product or service. That easy.

Examples

Paypal

Why it works: Guess what? Paypal is not just a big corporation, but helps small businesses thrive. Who knew? Paypal lets its own customers do all the praise and talking. The video highlights very well what the pain points of the business were and how Paypal easily helped overcome them with their payment solution. 

GoPro

Why it works: The first shot absolutely captivates the audience and sets the stage for telling the story of GoPro. Some flashbacks let the viewer walk through memory lane, while multiple employees do the talking and explain the impact and importance of GoPro. Customers are also at the center of that success story – re-using customers’ footage throughout this video is a genius move that makes the viewer think “I can do that too!”.

Hyatt

Why it works: This is probably as corporate as you can get while still being entertaining. Hyatt plays it safe but delivers a strong message. Notice how halfway through the video the focus shifts to Google and their new video ad delivery solution. From Google’s point of view, piggy-backing on another household name is a great way to build credibility before telling your own story.

Slack

Why it works: If you can’t (or won’t) use real customers for your product, fake it! Here, Slack took creativity to the next level and is delivering a fictitious scene to demonstrate what happens when a tech company tries Slack. This format lets you be humorous and cheeky, and demonstrate in depth how to use the product and how it solves all kinds of problems.

Zappos

Why it works: You don’t always need to be fancy: sometimes, you can just narrate your story. In this video, Zappos is trying to sell you anything. You just end watching this video with a warm and fuzzy feeling about the company. You get to see a lot of happy and helpful employees dedicated to fulfilling bizarre requests from clients. The footage is often raw, and that’s the point – it screams authenticity.

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I write about video marketing and how it can help your business.