Writing a winning case study – Entry Form is the key material

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Entries to the PAS Awards 2016 are now open. The preparations at the client and agency side to aim timely submission are in full swing. For some, writing a winning case study, which is the integral part of the award system, is one of the most daunting parts. Long nights of thinking and brainstorming on how to “get across to the jury”, umpteen discussions on “what is right and what is wrong” and finally “simple, direct and to-the-point” solution is what every entrant dreams of.

The guidelines that we present here are not the “hard and fast rule” that you must follow, however this is the “only way” to get across to the jury.

Present your case to the jury as if they are completely unaware about your product. NEVER assume that just because you have a winning brand operating in Pakistan for the last forty years, the jury SHOULD KNOW about your brand. I may have heard about Maybelline, Walmart, Gloria Jeans and Estee Lauder, but I have no clue about their strategic objectives, target audience, market share and their competition.

Keep in mind that the jury focuses on FOUR primary touch points; Strategic Challenge and Objectives, Idea, Execution and Results. Understand what is required in each to present your case effectively.

STRATEGIC CHALLENGE: In this section, judges will be looking for the insight and strategic thinking that led to your big idea. Present a clear thought process focusing on:

· Where my brand stood in terms of market share and positioning?

· What was the challenge my brand faced? Highlight WHAT exactly was the problem or opportunity.

· And WHY?

In short, explain, “Why did I come up with a new marketing idea?” or “what was my brand strategy?” Add all the relevant details to help the jury to understand your case better. Provide information on any behavioural and attitudinal findings about your target audience. Include any research that backed up your insight. If your strategy was built on business or channel insight, explain the thinking that led to your conclusions. REMEMBER, THE JURY DOES NOT KNOW YOUR BRAND. Be concise and keep it at a strategic level. Be careful with language and acronyms. When you put TAG, DAN or STAN, judges have no clue what it means.

BIG IDEA: Without going into a marathon, explain the BIG IDEA in simple words. Judges look for ideas that work. Do not try to present your idea as innovative and unique. It could be a run-of-the-mill idea that simply worked for your brand.

DO NOT present a vague idea. NEVER say, “we decided to have a social media campaign”. Explain by giving the detail of the idea for example, “we choose a new tag line for the brand campaign (write the tag line)” or “we changed the packaging to uplift the image of the brand” or “we had a PR activity (mention the activity) that helped tackle the strategic objective.”

EXECUTION OF BIG IDEA: Clarify how the big idea was executed. What did you do to make your BIG IDEA work for your brand in a positive way? Briefly describe the creative and media implementation of this strategy. For non communications activities, describe how the strategy was otherwise brought to life. Provide a detailed description of the communications platforms used and the rationale for choosing these. How the specific contribution of the channels in the mix worked?

RESULTS: Stick to the facts. A case study should be a modest description of the actual scenario of the brand, not the ideal picture in your mind.

In this section, provide performance indicators against objectives. Judges will be looking for evidence of how implementation of the big idea effectively worked towards achievement of your objectives. The judges will derive a conclusion to see if the success formula worked for your brand or not. The results should show this:

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Show success by giving proper indicators such as

· Sales increased by

· Viral ad resulted in x number of views on social media

· Twitter followers increased by

· Market share increased by

Be careful to include the source of the results shown.

For further guideline, view the sample case study at http://www.pasawards.pk/retail-walmart-case-study.pdf

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