Case Studies: When Anonymity Degrades Integrity

In the monthly member magazine that I receive from USAA, there are always examples of financial planning makeovers — where they have taken a family who was getting less than their desired results and helped them chart a course for padding their retirement or fixing some financial downfall. The stories are interesting but sometimes their credibility is undermined when the subjects request anonymity. Without a name or a photograph supporting them, the reader is left thinking “this is just too good to be true; real people don’t act this way.”

The same goes for case studies that you may use to promote your business. And this is where an ounce of planning can generate pounds and pounds of results.

Just last month I helped a client craft a case study documenting the success of their products and services in improving the metrics used to evaluate a public sector service provider. Problem was that he neglected to get pre-approval from the client to name their entity. We could discuss the category but couldn’t mention their name. Suddenly the case study read a lot like the one I saw in the USAA member magazine. 😦

The lesson he quickly learned was the importance of getting client approval before we started the case study interview. Now he’s careful to get client approval to use their name for marketing purposes when he signs any new client (marketing rights are part of their contract) and we are able to promote them in press releases when we sign them and in case studies when we achieve success.

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