This post isn’t about formal business writing. There are plenty of articles on how to write an academic case study, here’s one Harvard Business School Case Method in Practice. What this post is about is keeping it simple and to the point—simple to outline, simple to understand, and simple to write.

Finding topics

Does your business solve problems? Do you have customers that exemplify the problems you solve? If so, you have the makings of a case study. To identify a topic, consider what problems you solve and what solutions you want to share. What product or service do you want to market? Here’s an example. This case study is on the TKO website and we have a one-page print version. It’s been used in hundreds of presentations and helped us secure many contracts. And…it’s real simple. Case Study: Rebranding 4,000 vehicles.

Where it starts

What’s important in a business case study is getting the message to potential customers in a way that will attract and hold their attention. It begins with the title. For example, in the 4,000 vehicle rebrand case study, the subtitle is “Preventing vehicle downtime during a re-brand.” If your organization was considering a vehicle rebrand how much could eliminating downtown save you? The key to an attractive case study title is to make it as clear as possible the problems you solve and the benefit to your customer.

As easy as one, two, three

The 3 parts to this case study formula are based on what will appeal to clients. Most consumers want to know what your product does for them not how it does it. Most people want to know what time it is, not how the clock was built.

  1. The Challenge

State the challenge in simple terms. In this case study, Graphic Solutions for a Poor Color Match, A prospect came to us asking for solutions to a problem from another graphics provider. “A recently wrapped vehicle was damaged, and the replacement graphics didn’t match the undamaged areas.” There’s more, but it’s straightforward and to the point. Anyone searching for an answer to this problem will find it in this case study.

  1. The Solution

Make this as uncomplicated as possible. Share the solutions in clear terms. In this case study, PERQ was rebranding signage and graphics. This is often done by separate providers, which doubles the work for the customer. Case Study: Coordinating a Workplace Rebrand. Here’s how it was explained, “Instead of requiring PERQ to coordinate the efforts, we oversaw the project, sharing artwork, planning, and communications, which freed PERQ to focus on what they do best—marketing.”

  1. The Outcome

Tell it like it is. In this case, the customer wanted an easy way to distribute promotional products and recognition awards to its more than 7,000 employees. Easy-peasy. Case Study: Creating an Online Company Store.  “TKO Marketing Solutions developed an easy to use website that would be practical for the organizations more than 7,000 employees. For example, when the team members decide on the free offerings, their choice will only be a mouse-click away. Having the ability to process branded specialty products in the thousands and develop a user-friendly website for product distribution allows the organization to recognize and reward their employees. It also promotes their brand in the marketplace without investing large amounts of upfront capital.”

Give me 3 steps

If you solve problems, if you have solutions that work, and if you have customers with positive outcomes, then you have a case study. Short, sweet, and effective. What problems do you solve, what’s your solution, and who have you shared it with?