Energy storage technology
A case study and an infographic walk into a bar…
Marketers are all into storytelling these days, the logic being that prospects are more inclined to read a “story” than to delve into “marketing content.” And as Carla Johnson from Type A Communications notes, the most successful marketing storytellers do tell interesting stories,  “about real people, doing real things,” not just brand-centric narratives.

With an abundance of stories flooding every marketing channel, though, marketers must be relentlessly inventive to get their stories read. Case studies have been whittled down from 2,000 words to 600 words and fewer to appeal to impatient readers. In the past few years, video testimonials have been supplementing, and often supplanting, written case studies, because the multisensory medium is easier and often more enjoyable to consume.

Why not videos, then?

While video storytelling is a trend, only the larger brands can really exploit it—for obvious reasons. First, it’s much harder to get a customer on camera and get b-roll footage than it is to do a phone interview, or to collect information from the customer account team. Second, even with the wealth of video editing tools available today, high-quality video production is beyond the capabilities or budgets of many marketing departments. Doing the math, marketers realize that for the cost of one video, they can easily produce a handful of written case studies.

What about animated videos? Whether it’s a whiteboard video or a Flash presentation, animation retains many of the sensory advantages of video, while eliminating the need for live customers and photographers. But again, production costs for professional-quality animation often keep these videos just out of reach.

How we lifted the case study constraints

As content creatives, we struggled with the fact that some of our smaller-budget clients had to make do with text-based case studies, peppered with photos and the occasional diagram or illustration. But then it occurred to us that some of these same clients were asking us for infographics to visualize how their solutions worked and the benefits they provided. In creating these infographics, we were concerned not only with clear and accurate depiction, but also with the viewer experience. Where would their eyes fall first? How would their attention drift across the page? How would their understanding of the solution be affected by the choice and placement of icons and other symbols?

And suddenly the light bulb went on. If we can visualize a solution process (such as e-payments, or manufacturing logistics), we can also visualize a case study. It’s the whiteboarding video minus the dimension of time; the trick is to create the sense of forward movement in a single frame.

Thus, the case-o-graphic™ was born. Like many creative insights, it was induced by limitations—in this case, our clients’ budgets. You could call it a compromise, but when you can take an existing case study, turn it into a case-o-graphic and then drop that into a sales deck, a web page, or any social media channel, it feels more like a windfall.


Tami Demayo


January 3, 2020
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