How to make a compelling case study video.

July 14, 2021 // Dose of Insight

Case studies have long been a way to promote a business by showcasing a success story. Sharing testimonials and results helps you gain credibility and build trust.

A case study video does even more to enhance your business’s reputation because it engages the viewer more directly than a piece of paper can, plus the viewer can see the emotions of the speakers and better understand just how happy your customers are. Seeing and hearing a sincere quote will always have more impact than simply reading it.

Video marketing case studies are reasonably easy to produce as long as they’re planned out. That’s really the key. It’s tempting to think you can just “wing it” when it comes to getting video testimonials, especially when you’re crunched for time. But a case study video that looks like it’s been slapped together can detract from your reputation rather than enhance it.

To help you understand how to make a case study video that works, we’ve put together a few handy guidelines:

Know your goal

A product sales video often has a tangible goal, such as to grow sales by X%. A corporate case study video should have a goal, too. It may not have a specific measurement tied to it, but you should still know what you want viewers to do or feel.

A goal for a case study video might be to provide proof to prospective customers that your product or service works. It might be to provide your sales team with a tool that can help break down barriers. Or it might be to simply enhance your reputation with your current clients.

Part of determining your goal is knowing your target audience. In most cases, video case studies target prospective customers with the goal of helping to convert a sale at some point. Knowing who you want to reach and what you want them to do or feel will help you focus your message.

Make a plan

For real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. For a case study video, it’s all about preparation, preparation, preparation. Start thinking through the story of your case study. What is the highlight that made you first think it was worth sharing? What content will be most appealing to your audience? What facts and/or results do you have to share?

In addition to your overall message, consider who are the best people to tell the story. Whenever possible, a third party such as a customer will have more credibility than your staff, though if there’s something unique about your product or service, adding a quote from an engineer or a sales expert can be a nice addition. Comments from satisfied clients will always carry the most weight. Be sure to get their approval to participate. When possible, it’s a good idea to have them sign a release acknowledging the willingness to be involved. Most people want to help because they are as happy about the success as you are.

Once you know what you want your video case study to communicate and who you want to share the insights, think through the best way to bring that message out. You might write out a script, but make sure the people you’re using are comfortable with it. Most non-actors don’t sound sincere when reading, and the last thing you want is for your message to sound false. In most cases, it’s better to plan out a series of interview questions that will draw out the information you desire.

Is there a setting that will help showcase your message? Keep production quality in mind. A factory floor may make a wonderful visual background for an interview, but if it’s too noisy for the subject to be heard then it isn’t a good choice. For video testimonials, you want clean sound, so choose a location that’s quiet. For “B-roll” that shows products in action without anyone talking on screen, sound isn’t an issue.

Finally, plan out how your case study video will be shot. Do you have an in-house video crew? Do you need to hire someone? Would a Virtual Video Kit cover your needs? Do you want to get shots that will require special equipment, such as a drone? Avoid having someone use a phone or a Zoom link to capture video. The quality of the video reflects on your brand. A grainy look or “shaky cam” may work great for The Blair Witch Project, but it has no place in a video case study.

Take action

At last, you’re ready to shoot some footage! You can generally divide it into two categories:

A common mistake is to rush through an interview by getting one nervous response to each question. Instead, put interview subjects at ease by letting them know it’s okay to stumble or lose a train of thought. You’ll be asking the questions several times so they can get comfortable, and you’ll be editing out any flubs (which, you can assure them, happens to everyone). Ask the interview subject to provide context when answering. For example, if you say, “Tell me why X was a success for you,” you want the interviewee to frame the answer with some version of “X was a success for me because…” That will go a long way toward keeping the message clean and saving you time and money in the editing process.

B-roll is a filmmaking term for supporting footage that can help enhance the final production. Think of the interviews as your primary footage and B-roll as secondary — and still quite important — footage. Let’s say your interview subject talks about how easy your product is to use. Shooting some footage of your product in use is a great way to supplement that message. You get the best of both worlds by having a testimonial that provides credibility along with video that provides supporting proof. B-roll also offers a great way to disguise interview flubs and tighten audio without having any jarring jump cuts. If you remember nothing else from this article, make you remember this: Don’t skimp on the B-roll.

Here to help

Whether you just want some guidance for setting up your shots, someone to handle your video case study from start to finish, or something in between, count on Vector Haus. Our team has considerable experience in a wide range of corporate videos and case studies. Don’t hesitate to contact us for help with your next project.

This article was published before January 2024 and does not reflect the consolidation of Performance Marketing, Vector Haus, and Blue Traffic into Anthologic.