31 Jul Weaving a tale for ABB Drives & Motors at Brinton Carpets – the story behind the story
Whether it’s a holiday abroad, a restaurant or the latest smart phone, the value of a word of mouth recommendation is well known when it comes to finding new customers. Nothing reassures a potential customer on the brink of making a purchase more than letting them see a colleague, friend or family member enjoying a positive experience with that same product. It’s no different when it comes to the industrial marketplace. With end users quite rightly expecting value for money when making a purchase, any evidence highlighting how one of their peers benefitted from doing the same can be a powerful tool in helping to close a sale.
At Armitage Communications, we specialise in helping our clients to generate buzz around their products and services through the creation of thoroughly researched, conscientiously-written and well-delivered case studies. With the array of marketing channels open to us, we are able to make sure our client’s projects are promoted to the fullest extent, from a write-up in the trade media through to ongoing use as videos on YouTube.
That case studies are a valuable tool in helping to demonstrate the value of a company’s products or services is supported by a recent study by San Francisco-based content production specialist, Eccolo Media. Eccolo recently published a survey which found that 25% of technology consumers would be most likely to consume a case study over other collateral such as white papers, e-newsletters and videos.
This is just as well, as putting a case study together can be hard work. Ask any marketing or PR executive and they’ll tell you just how many hours of telephone calls are expended in trying to get in touch with end users, organising interviews, establishing approvals and getting hold of images. With many companies also operating a blanket ‘non-endorsement’ policy, putting together a case study can often be something of a labour of love.
Threading the needle
So when we heard how delighted famous carpet manufacturer Brinton Carpets was with ABB’s products during a recent electric motor upgrade project, we were quick to get underway with organising an interview and photoshoot at the customer’s location in Telford.
|Dave Evans, Electrical Coordinator, Brintons Carpets|
The story started with ABB Drives and Motors receiving notification through its Authorised Value Provider, Sentridge Control, of the successful performance of its AC motors at Brinton Carpets. In this way, a thread of communication was established between us – the agency, the product integrator – Sentridge, our client – ABB, and the end user – Brinton Carpets. Our next task was then to weave this thread into a full story, being mindful at all times of how the case study represented all parties, carefully gathering information from all parties, and gaining collective approval before the final version could be distributed.
The scope of the story lent itself to a face-to-face interview with the end user rather than a telephone interview, and so, with their permission, we organised a day on which we could visit the premises with a photographer in tow.
Stitching the tapestry
As an agency, we like to think we know what makes a good story. The process starts with a list of carefully-crafted questions, aimed at getting the information we need without unduly wasting the time of the interviewee, who we fully appreciate will have a thousand more pressing things to do.
On this point, it’s important to try to be balanced. Though we’re writing primarily for our client, it doesn’t have to all be ‘me, me, me’. It doesn’t hurt to give their customers a little free publicity as well, especially where they have an established heritage or interesting product. For this reason, we always throw in some questions asking end users about their company and what they do. This not only helps to make the experience more rewarding for the interviewee, but also gives us some useful added-value information that we can use when promoting the story, especially via social media.
For example, we discovered that Brintons is a truly British manufacturer, boasting a history dating
back to 1783, the same year that Britain signed its treaty with America to end the American Revolution. Since this time the company has notched up some impressive accolades, including the granting of a Royal Warrant in 1958 and the reunion of the Spice Girls on a Brintons carpet in London’s revamped St Pancras Hotel in 2012, a nod to their first video which saw them performing on the staircase of the same building prior to its redevelopment. We’re certainly excited about what social media content we can curate with that info.
Once we’ve established some context, we ask what prompted the end user to get in touch with our client in the first place. In the case of Brintons, the company’s previously installed DC motors were obsolete and required regular maintenance. For Brinton’s this meant time and cost were incurred from disruption to its production process and the need to keep constantly repairing the motors. For this reason, they decided to switch to AC motors, which not only save on energy but increase production capacity.
At the end of the day, we recognise that the best stories are the ones with good hard evidence, particularly when it comes to numbers. A business runs on money after all, and statements such as “a two year return on investment” or “£20,000 savings per year” help to grab a prospective customer’s attention like nothing else. We will always ask the end user if they have any idea of what savings they’ve achieved, in order to make the case study business-led.
|Writing a case study is like weaving a carpet|
In this instance our client’s products resulted in 19% energy savings, a return on investment of just
2.6 years and estimated savings of £40,000 per year.
Once we’ve pieced together a narrative for the end user, we will go back to our client to get their perspective. A simple quote is all that is needed to conclude the content, and touch on any key benefits or technical details which the end user may not have mentioned.
Finally, we will send the finished case study to all parties to gain their approval before we distribute and publicise.
Publicising case studies
To effectively engage our target audience we’ve established long-standing relationships with key industry journalists who we know will give our case studies the exposure they deserve. The Brinton’s case study is scheduled to appear in the trade and technical press in the coming months, so keep an eye out and let us know if you spot it!
Given the effort we expend in every case study we write, we are keen to ensure we use each one to its full potential. The Brintons case study will not only appear on the ABB Energy website, but will be rewritten into a blog format for the ABB Energy Blogspot. Although informality may seem initially inappropriate for B2B, the short-form, casual style of a blog lends itself well to end users who are strapped for time, and may not subscribe to any of the print publications where we’ve placed the case study.
Another advantage of blogging case studies is that their usability extends across to social media. Platforms such as Twitter, Google + and Linked In are all frequently used by Armitage to engage prospective customers, and drive traffic to our client’s blogs and/or website.
Case studies will prove even more useful in the near future as they are worked in to our digital marketing campaigns. With the help of marketing automation, case studies can be used as engaging links with the aim of helping to gather extra intelligence on customer preferences by encouraging visitors to other content.
Once a prospective customer has been added to the database, they will be sent e-shots on a regular basis which will be customised to their particular interest, job title, and industry. In this way, lead nurturing becomes a strategic yet automatic system. Once the initial campaign is designed, the software will respond accordingly to our client’s customers, and give our clients the best chance of building new relationships and, ultimately, securing a sale.
We look forward to using the Brintons case study to weave an automated campaign and tell an engaging, persuasive, and, most importantly, valuable tale to our end users.
Would you like to know more about how we use case studies as key collateral in content marketing campaigns? Do you have a customer that would be happy to tell their story? Contact us on 0208 667 2210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help.