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What's In A Name? Writing Compelling Anonymous Case Studies.

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Never let the fact that a happy customer doesn't want to be mentioned by brand name in a case study hinder you from producing them!

When you tell stories about your product and brand through real-life examples, you help the audience "get it". Case studies can do this well as they help your prospects mentally visualize how you can help them. They also serve as powerful assets for your sales team to have on hand when pitching to a prospect in a similar circumstance. So we encourage you to write the case study, named customer or not!

Barriers to Naming Companies in Case Studies 

There are a few. 

Red tape - Some companies have a hierarchy of approvals you must navigate in getting permission to use their name for marketing purposes. Sometimes there is just a hard no on being involved in case studies.

Bad light - Your customer may love you to bits but have a reputation/brand to protect. Perhaps your case study highlights previous poor performance or their switch to using better practices (i.e., your service) is too recent for them to feel comfortable sharing.

Timing - Maybe there is a time-sensitive point you wish to highlight, or you have another marketing event coming up, and a case study you're working on would make a very relevant CTA download. For example, you have a blog post about IT integrations, and your latest case study would be a compelling reason for readers/prospects to give you their email for the case study download. 

So, Best Case Scenario:

If your happy customer is willing and able to have you name them in a case study, great! A recognizable name, in particular, adds clout to your claims, and you can likely have their marketing people share the case study on social and in other content, which gets more eyeballs on your study and traffic to your website.

Next Best Result:

You proceed with the case study and do not name the company—and you use the 4 tips below to create the best anonymous case study possible!

4 Tips for Creating Anonymous Case Studies

1) Quantify Results

When you are not naming the customer you are featuring, it is a good idea to lead right into the figures that sell your performance. You should readily highlight:

  • Dollar values—how much did the client save?
  • The number of new customers your client won
  • The time it took to achieve goals—and perhaps the amount of time implementation took, particularly in the case of software products
  • How quickly it took the client's staff to learn your service

2) Use Visual Proof

Use visual proof wherever possible, blurring out logos and names to protect your client's privacy. Pictures can be as valuable as quantifying results. Screenshots and charts give readers easily digestible clues on how you solved your client's problem.

Here are a few examples. 

We produced a case study for a SaaS medical client showing how well our full website and content development project performed for them. 

First, we showed the work we did through before and after shots: 


We also presented data overtime to prove how our website redesign and strategies improved the client's website traffic:


3) The Name Game 

It can be awkward writing a study where you do not name the company whose story you are telling. It helps if you develop a specific term, such as in the above example, we refer to the client in our case study as a "SaaS medical startup" or an "Orange County startup". 

It is also a good idea not to overuse the term(s) you have selected. This limits the fact that you are keeping the name a secret—you don't want the reader to think too hard about why your client is not named.

To refrain from overusing the anonymous terms, you can structure sentences in ways that avoid having to refer to them. For example, instead of saying: "X won 20% more business with our product", you can say: "The results were an outstanding 20% increase in business."

4) Spill the Beans

Lastly, take advantage of the fact that your happy customer is not being named. Tell the truth about how they could not achieve specific objectives, stay competitive, or spent too much money and resources before partnering with your business. You are free from worrying about offending your client! Let your prospects really know what was going on!

Get Cracking on Case Studies!

Let us make it easy for you! Case studies can take time to produce, from your first reach out to customers just asking them to participate to a final glossy PDF download. We create multiple case studies a quarter for clients and have this down to a smooth process—and we are happy to share! 

Download our Ultimate Case Study Bundle that comes complete with checklists, workflows, spreadsheets, and questions to ask your happy customer! Get started on creating awesome content that wins you business!


Fractional HubSpot Admin

Additional Resources

The Truth About B2B Marketing
Marketing Website Messaging Template - Win Better Leads!
Breaking the Mold in Sales and Marketing