The Value of a Case Study

We’ve been having some interesting discussions in the AHA office. It’s time to review our case studies and do an update. We have had several projects recently that just cry out to be highlighted in a case study and I am looking forward to writing them. We have been chatting about whether or not to revise the format we use for case studies and discussing what the objective of a case study is, and several points have come up.

The objective of a case study is (or can be):

  • An example of the skill set and abilities of the agency (showcasing the approach and results) – used for business development.
  • An example of approach and results – used as a component of building a “business case” for other projects.
  • An opportunity to review the success/challenges of a project with some distance, clarity and context.
  • An opportunity to put a project into context – used for the client/agency relationship and for AHA crew members to see the big picture of what, why, when and how.
  • A part of the AHA legacy – used for internal purposes in the long term to review our professional path and agency evolution. Could also be used for an anniversary celebration for AHA.

All of these objectives are of value to our PR agency. Developing case studies is one of those tasks that gets put on our to-do list and sometimes doesn’t get the priority treatment it deserves. I always enjoy writing case studies and I always learn something important during the process.

We debrief each project with our AHA crew and, when possible (and in the real world we live in, it’s not always possible), with our client. There are valuable lessons to be learned through a debrief. And there are valuable lessons to be learned by developing a case study. Not the least of which is what worked, what didn’t, and what could be done differently next time.

For me, even writing this blog post has given me the opportunity to think about what could be done differently regarding the development of case studies. An idea for an improvement is that we could commit to developing the case study within one month of the project ending, and share it with the client in that timeline. (There’s always room for improvement.)

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