Why is a Case Study Video important?
We’ve all been there ourselves as a potential customer. We like the idea of a product or a service. What we want is a little more assurance that it’s actually what it says it is. After all, a business can say what it likes about itself, but real credibility comes from customers.
That’s why we look at online reviews, and perhaps wonder how many of them are genuinely written by customers. Which is why a case study video – also known as a client testimonial video or a customer success story video – is so powerful. It’s easy to tell if it’s genuine. And if it is the real deal and someone has agreed to endorse a product or service, is happy to put their face on screen and their name on the line, then it has some real currency.
Video is an outstanding format for case studies. Not only because a case study video is a persuasive form of a customer review, but because it offers up the chance to create a truly engaging piece of audio visual content. This combination of building genuine trust and credibility and using a medium that sparks interest and emotional connection INSPIRES ACTION.
Now we’re all agreed that case study videos are a really excellent tool, we need to turn our attention to how to make them properly.
What Does a Case Study Video Consist of?
To help you understand what goes into producing an effective case study video, one that reassures your audience about your products or services and gets them ready to act – with a request for information, a call, or even a purchase – we’ve broken it down for you below, piece by piece.
The foundation of any case study video is interview footage. A voiceover just doesn’t generate the same reassurance as interview testimony, and part of the objective with any client success story video is to prove to your audience that there are real people working for real businesses who endorse your product or service.
So, who should your interviewees be? Well, it’s typically going to be a mix of your own team and a rep (or reps) from one of your clients. While it’s possible that you would produce a video about one of your products or services that features a number of different clients’ testimonies, in this instance we’re going to assume that you’re creating a video about the experience of just one business client.
Above all a customer success story allows your clients to describe their positive sentiments of using your products or services and of their experience of working with your company. We’ll get into how to prepare them for this and what they should talk about later, suffice at this point to say that this is the most important part of the video.
Approach to the Interviews
We have created a really detailed blog about the general nuts & bolts of filming interviews that you can find here.
With a customer testimonial video one of the most important things to bear in mind is that it’s best to keep your own presence in the video to a minimum. A strong case study video is one that showcases your client’s satisfaction with the success that resulted from its dealings with your company. A video with minimal involvement from a ‘satisfied’ client will be ineffective.
So, we would suggest that even if you don’t introduce your client first, make sure they appear early on in the video and let them lead the story as far as possible. It may be that more than one person from your client’s business is interviewed, providing different perspectives on the their dealings with your company. In many ways a second, or perhaps third, voice brings added persuasiveness by providing specific information relevant to their job roles, and offering opportunities to vary the visual look & feel with a new interviewee and a different backdrop.
While we are suggesting that you let you client lead, your business reps needs to frame the case study. You cannot control exactly what your client says, so your speakers need to inject their interviews with information that is pertinent to other potential clients watching the video. Certainly your company’s contributors should be armed with the facts & figures that give strength to your case as well as details that frame the way you approached your work to get your client the results they wanted. It may be that your clients have their own statistics to support the success of your collaboration, which is always excellent, but what they can say that you cannot is how they felt to be working with you. In many ways this is the most important piece of their interview content – the emotive element which trumps all the facts & figures.
If there is one other element to push for in the content from your client’s contributions it’s a really short, sharp, succinct soundbite that frames the success of the collaboration, preferably with a statistic: ‘Working with NextShoot has been a game changer. Our Social Media video engagement has doubled, while our costs have decreased by 15 per cent.’ Contrary to the advice below about not memorising content, this might be the exception, though you would need to run this by your client in advance.
The language used in a customer testimonial should feel natural and unrehearsed. There is a tendency for contributors to over-plan their answers and to try to include complex in-house jargon. There are two issues with this. First, unless your contributor has a good deal of acting experience they will stumble on their scripted lines and it will feel inauthentic. Secondly, while we tend to seek clarity through sector-specific jargon with the written word, if used on camera it can feel hackneyed and alienating. References to ‘paradigm shifts’, ‘agile methodologies,’ ‘synergies’ and ‘solutioneering’ are probably best avoided.
There are also some practicalities to consider with any interview filming.
A location will have to be chosen: do you film it in your offices? At their building? Hire a separate location altogether, like a studio? If you are looking to capture broll (see below) then filming at their premises is probably going to be the best bet, and in our experience if you agree to go to the client’s office you are more likely to get their commitment by saving them the travel time.
You’ll also need to advise your interview subject about what to wear. Again, see our interview blog for more details on this.
When it comes to the content, we would recommend that once you have the flow of the case study mapped out (see below for a suggested structure) then you divide the content up amongst the interviewees and devise questions for each contributor, with some overlap so that some people are responding to the same question. Then, so as to disencourage anyone from writing a long-hand script to memorise, you can put 2-3 bullet points against each question for points to include in their answers. This can be shared with colleagues and clients for feedback. In our experience, contributors find it reassuring to be told that nothing needs to be learned by heart. In truth, the director from any good corporate video production company should be able to guide the speakers on the day into giving clear, succinct and authentic responses. It certainly helps if the speakers don’t have a script up their sleeve that they have half-memorised.
B-roll + Cutaways
Case studies benefit immensely from supplementary footage, called b-roll. In this instance b-roll is general footage which is related to the subject of your case study, and used to support or illustrate a point raised in the interview material. The editor ‘cuts away’ from the interview to this material – hence the other term used for this content – ‘cutaways’.
Of course, the nature of your clients business and your own product or service will have bearing on what the broll will be. In fact, what your client does might have influenced your decision to create a case study video with them in the first place. On the whole you would look to film the interviews and the broll in the same location on the same day, but this isn’t always possible and a unit move to a second location might be necessary, or a separate filming day.
If a case study involves technology and software in particular you’re likely to need footage of people actively using the tech on desktops and mobile devices. It’s worth planning for this in advance as you’ll have to set up and test a dummy account to display the functionality of the product without revealing sensitive or protected information.
In summary, well shot, relevant b-roll is a crucial component in making a customer success story video look dynamic and in fostering engagement with the viewer, making them more likely to interact with your offering.
Graphics and other Elements
Another useful visual element to include in your customer success story video is graphics. A richness of content will always make a video feel more interesting, and graphics are also perhaps the best way to visually express complex ideas in a succinct way. In a case study video this might be a map, a chart, an infographic representing a company’s structure or the scope of business’s outreach.
Of course, interviewees will have their names and job titles referenced in captions and there is typically a front card and an end card with text and a call to action or url.
In some cases it might make sense to use stock footage, for example an aerial shot of the City of London, and there’s no reason why pre-existing broll footage from either party cannot be included, along with a music track that sets the tone for the case study and gives the video momentum.
The Structure of a Successful Case Study
The narrative of a case study video tends to be similar to the way it’s structured on paper. At a basic level it’s about telling a story, one that any potential client might recognise, in which a real customer overcomes a particular set of challenges using your products or services. Just like a story, a case study video should have a beginning, a middle and an end, as well as a protagonist – your customer – overcoming a problem and achieving their goal. By the end of the video, the audience should be able to picture themselves as the protagonist of their own story. It’s important that they can relate to the challenges of your featured customer, and so picture themselves achieving their own goals by using your product or services.
Introducing the Problem
In this first part of the narrative, it’s less to do with your company and more to do with the nature of your client’s business and the challenges your client has faced. This needs to be expressed with as little excess information as possible. Let’s not dwell on the past. Suffice to say it wasn’t a great situation. The old solution – no names mentioned – was expensive and morale was low. The question that would be asked of the client in the interview would be along the lines of ‘What were the challenges you faced before you used the X solution? And what impact was that having on the business/ profitability/ staff morale?’
Introduction of the Solution
In this part of the story, your client begins to describe how your company offered something that addressed their problems, revealing the nature of your product or service and how it supported them in overcoming their challenges.
And now your own company reps can dig into what your product or solution is all about. It’s an opportunity also to demonstrate how you worked with your client to understand their needs, implement a strategy and monitor the way their business was responding. Like any good story, the aim at this point is to keep back the results. Let’s not pretend that any viewer will be sitting on the edge of their seat to hear how this all pans out, but the truth is that we all respond to being lead logically and deliberately through a narrative (be it a poem, TV advert, or just text on a cereal packet) and a customer success story video is no different.
What effect did your solution have? What measurable successes were there? In the outcome section, you can drive home your points for a convincing and decisive finish. This doesn’t mean a dry reel of statistics, but it ought to point to clear and quantifiable ways in which your client benefited from what you had to offer. Your company can qualify this, but the client has to have significant input here and, as touched on above, it helps not only to have some stats to back up your claims but for your client to bring an emotive element to their contribution. After all, a business solution is not just about efficiency and profitability; ultimately it’s about making someone’s life less stressful, creating more time for the things that matter (golf, family time, more work).
And it’s also the place in the video where that short, sharp soundbite from the client will come in handy.
What else do you need to consider when making Testimonial Videos?
How many do you need?
A single case study is fine, but posted on your website, it can end up looking a bit lonely. Instead, it’s best to create a series of case studies for use on your website and across your Social Media channels. A campaign of videos brings momentum and encourages the viewer to see how you solved problems with multiple clients, reinforcing your credibility. On some platforms these videos can be arranged as a playlist.
Working with your Clients
It’s one thing deciding to create a series of case study videos, it’s entirely another thing to get the commitment from your clients to appear on camera. Inevitably your point of contact at your client will need to clear their appearance in your video with their own internal stakeholders, a process that can take time. So, we would advise you to throw your net wide with the number of companies you approach and to expect that some clients won’t be able to participate, while others will take some time to come back to you. Furthermore, when you have commitment from a client, you are going to have to work within their timetable and, as it’s a favour, be flexible about when the filming takes place, accommodating requests to move the shoot date.
Typically you will have a good working relationship with the individual you approach to make a case study video, and they will most likely genuinely want to show their appreciation for the way in which you support them personally and with your company’s products or services. However, and this may ring true if you are a marketeer yourself, once their marketing team gets wind of a case study video being produced, they might want to capitalise on the event and ask if they can receive a video of their own as part of the deliverables. This is entirely possible, but what we would say is that the overlap between your customer case study and their positioning video is probably very small and so you will need to factor in more interview time and, if you agree to cover the costs, more editing time also. In effect, it is an entirely different video. You should also be clear with your client about what exactly they are expecting in their video, and make it known that you have allowed for two sets of amendments to the first draft of the edit. It’s human nature that when you haven’t commissioned and aren’t paying for a piece of work, your approach to managing the time, budget and output of that project is different.
Making your Case Study Video work for you
Once you have your case study video filmed, edited, and ready for release, it’s important to consider subtitles. Recent studies have shown that as many as 92% of respondents watched videos without sound, and the videos they watch accommodate this with clear, easy-to read subtitles. Plus, you can make your case study transcend borders by translating subtitles into other widely-spoken languages.
The Montage Case Study Video
If you’ve created a series of case studies with a variety of clients, it’s likely that you have moments from each of them which contain rock-solid info that delivers a strong impression for potential clients. You can make these moments shine by combining them into a highlights reel. This sort of montage videos fires interest in new visitors, increasing the likelihood that they will look to engage with your business.
Even if you appreciate the value of video, chances are that you still make use of traditional printed materials or online text. It’s useful, therefore, to transcribe the audio from your case study interviews from which you can pick and build choice quotes for use across different media. Of course, we can help you with the transcription process.
So there you have it. The case study video + client testimonial video + customer success story video.
NextShoot is a corporate video production agency in London making case study videos for clients all over the world. Please have a look at our Case Study Video case study page (!) for examples of our work and, of course, we’d be delighted to help your organisation tell its own success stories.