Be the Case Study

Spoon Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon Boy: There is no spoon.
There is no spoon?
Spoon Boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

Sometimes you just need to bend yourself.

Good advice from a bald, 8-year-old in the movie “The Matrix.”

As a social and digital media consultant, one of the most frequent requests I get are for case studies.  And at Weber Shandwick, we have a ton of them.  We have done social and digital media campaigns for many of the largest brands in the world – as well as for many of the coolest companies and start-ups.

Finding case studies is never a problem.

However, I generally get these requests after making a presentation for new business or for a unique social/digital campaign to an existing client.

That’s when we often get the response: “Wow!  What a great idea!  Do you have any case studies of other companies doing this?”

Well, no.  Because we just presented you with an idea that no else is doing.  It’s cutting edge!  It’s hasn’t been done quite like this before!  It’s specifically built for your brand!

That declaration is often followed by silence, a few furtive glances around the board room, and then a “Well, let us think about it.”

Bold, innovative ideas don’t have case studies.

Do you think the Wachowski Brothers presented the studio with case studies when it pitched “The Matrix?”

Do you think James Joyce needed case studies before he set out to write “Finnegan’s Wake?”

Do you think Apple presented case studies to justify making the iPod?  Or the iPhone?

Do you think case studies were needed before Old Spice did its 48-hour live social media campaign?

If you have case studies showcasing how other companies executed an idea or a campaign then you are simply copying them.  You are are a me-too rather than a trailblazer.

Case studies should be used only to show that an agency or creative shop has done great ideas before.  That they have the know-how and the track record. Case studies should not be used as a justification for doing your idea.

Remember that Spoon Boy told Neo to bend himself.

In other words: “Be the Case Study.”


The Matrix on IMDb

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