One of the most effective tools in any marketers arsenal is a case study – or story. We write case studies for internal and external publication and love doing so. We love to tell the success of product or strategy and a well-written case study is irresistible to readers. We love stories, are hard-wired to learn through a story, and while a case study can be technical, at its best it is a story.
The following are some of our own:
Case Study 1: Expanding Your Brand and Market Presence During Challenging Economic Times
The Goal: The publication of the first annual report issued by the Houston Public Library (HPL) in over five years. Its goal was to demonstrate to community leaders and the community at-large the dramatic changes that had transforming the Library into a “go to” resource for Houston’s many and diverse communities. HPL believed that the report would be a success if it: 1) raised awareness of HPL’s activities in tangible ways; 2) raised contributions to the Foundation, and 3) donors, elected officials and corporate leaders became more supportive as a result.
The Challenge: The challenges facing HPL were on multiple fronts:
- with a very small budget, CMS/Creative Marketing Services (CMS) determined to use as many “free” resources as possible to manage the cost of producing an annual report.
- The Houston Public Library Foundation (HPLF) sponsored and paid for the publication, but also needed to meet the stringent requirements of both the HPL and the City of Houston.
- While the existing team at HPLF and HPL had extensive experience in communications, this was the first annual report they had ever undertaken so there was a steep learning curve to bring them up to speed on the requirements and execution of this particular form of marketing communications.
- The book had to effectively communicate two primary messages: a.) the contribution of the Library to the community and b.) a fund-raising component on behalf of the Foundation.
- The implosion of the credit markets and the impact of Hurricane Ike added to the importance of issuing the report and the critical message of the report, while complicating its development.
Strategies /Tactics: CMS assumed an oversight role with the team (HPLF, HPL and external marketing personnel) governing the production of the report. This ensured that the City, HPLF and the creative team communicated effectively with one another throughout the production process. Assignments were distributed based on the strengths of the team. We maintained brief, but regular, meetings throughout the process to keep all participants on task, providing additional support in the form of engaging professional business writers, the gathering of fresh photography for the report and drafting letters on behalf of the directors of HPL and HPLF.
The result: The report was considered to a resounding success on many levels: 1) Recipients commented on aspects of the Library’s operations of which they were unaware and actually went to the Library – frequently this was a first after many years away. 2) Donations accelerated both through the insert envelope and through the foundations that received the report. 3) Board members requested additional copies and actually became active ambassadors for HPLF. 4) Other not-for-profits and other creative agencies requested copies and wrote glowing comments regarding its creativity. 5) HPL used the report in its communications with libraries in other cities and states across the nation as a model for drawing community support.
Case Study 2: How to Successfully Reposition a Company’s Products
The challenge: After several years, investors of a privately held company decided that the company’s software products had not gained traction in the marketplace and that the company needed to be sold within a year.
When TerraSpark’s management received a mandate to find a buyer within a year it embarked on several initiatives. One was to bring in CMS to completely overhaul its presence in the marketplace.
CMS conducted a survey of existing customers along with industry experts to ascertain TerraSpark’s strengths and weaknesses along with the unique value that it brought to the marketplace. From the insights gleaned in the survey, CMS initiated a comprehensive re-branding campaign designed to achieve the company’s overarching goals.
CMS created a new messaging campaign that was rolled out through the re-naming of the company’s products with fresh new tag lines that clearly differentiated each product’s unique offering.
The company’s website was exceptional with numerous excellent “how to” videos. However, the site was so complicated it was difficult to use. CMS used the best of the material available and streamlined the site while driving the messaging across the framework of the site. The new site was user-friendly, clear and compelling.
Respecting the constraints of time and budget, CMS also redesigned the company’s tradeshow booth to maximize impact and provide the perfect environment to showcase the company’s software. Throughout all of these initiatives no dollar was spent that was not directed strictly to achieving the company’s goals.
The result: The company was revitalized, its brand propositions were clear, industry interest was piqued – all through a campaign that was delivered on time and on budget – and the company was ultimately purchased within the timeframe dictated by the investors.
Case Study 3: Defining a Corporate Identity through a New Logo
The challenge: A company entering a business that was related, but distinctly different, from its primary business decided that it needed a logo that would establish it as a stable new competitor. The image it wanted was one that reflected its high operating standards, but one that would immediately be recognizable and memorable on its fleet of trucks.
When LiMarCo turned to CMS, it knew it wanted a logo that would be distinctive and attractive to its clients. As a carrier of liquefied petroleum gases, its trucks would be the primary vehicle for communicating its standards and stature.
CMS presented several concepts that were clean and modern, suggesting that this company was the brightest new entity in the business. LiMarCo chose a bold flame that it highlighted on its white fleet of tankers and subsequently used as the focal point of a new website and ad presence.
The result: LiMarCo has a logo that it not only enjoys, but customers have found compelling. A new brand has come to life in the manner its owners envisioned.
Case Study 4: Launch of a New Product to a Skeptical Audience
The challenge: How to convince your potential clients that your radically new product will open new frontiers for exploration, areas that had previously been “off limits” due to the limitations of older technology, and that your system is environmentally and geopolitically responsible.
When Geospace Technologies set out to introduce its wireless seismic data acquisition system to potential clients, it turned to CMS to develop videos that would show its product in use in environments that clients had been unable to consider using older technology as they were inaccessible, environmentally challenging or geopolitically sensitive. Geospace also wanted to demonstrate that its new system was an end-to-end solution capable of being deployed from high sierra to deep marine.
CMS recommended the development of two animated videos: one highlighting the capabilities of its land system and one demonstrating the new frontiers opened in the marine environment. Animation was an effective choice in terms of time and cost. It was also the only way we could accurately depict how deployment would occur in marine situations. Animation provided the freedom to show a variety of challenging environments, without having to get permits and fly safety approved-crews and equipment to expensive location shooting.
The result: These videos, completed on budget and on time, were able to demonstrate the entire range of capabilities of the land and marine systems and were effectively used in tradeshows and as sales tools. They demonstrated that the new systems open new frontiers for cost-effective exploration and answered the questions posed by clients using prior-generation technology.