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1,100 peanuts and capturing case study specifics – CloseTalk Communications

My husband is terrible at gossip. Hopeless. He’s telling me a story—of something that happened at work, or with his mother, or even at the grocery store—and I want the details.

All the details.

“But what was her tone?” I ask. “What was her expression? What exactly did she say?”

He gives me a blank look. “I have no idea what you’re asking.”

Maybe it’s from hours spent with my best friend as teens, analyzing every nuance of a conversation with a crush. Or maybe my unconscious habit of reading aloud a line from a novel, trying to figure out how exactly a character spoke in a certain situation.

Or maybe my husband just has a bad memory.

In any case, the devil’s in the case study details, so here are a few tips on how to be teenaged girl-specific in your next case study.

Take a number

There’s a reason why Discovery Channel’s long-running How It’s Made uses numbers to describe the manufacturing processes featured on the show.

Because we’re curious.

  • Know how many peanuts go into a jar of peanut butter? I do, because I just watched it on YouTube (1,100 nuts for a 500 gram jar).

Because amounts give context.

  • A wine producer bottles 600,000 liters of wine every day, and therefore needs an instrumentation solution for all of its 124 liquid storage vessels.

Because sizes and quantities are super impressive in large-scale manufacturing. Which do you prefer:

Such-and-Such Mill produces a lot of flour each year.
vs.
Such-and-Such Mill produces 54,000 tons of flour every year—or enough to make more than 195 million pizzas!

So ask for those amounts/sizes/temperatures from your product managers and customers. Each will help scratch your reader’s curiosity itch and make the story more relatable in the process.

On this day in history

How long has your customer been in business? How many employees have they hired over that time? What has changed since the first days of the company?

Again, context. Your customer doesn’t exist in a vacuum—and they’ve been doing successful business for longer than your product has been solving their problems.

Describe that success. That vision. Their modernization over the years.

It’s a nod to your customer, who has given their time (and permission!) to make this case study a reality.

But don’t just “In 1976 Such-and-Such Company was founded” the history part of your writing—set the scene.

How about:

300 years. Since the days of Sir Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin, workers have been digging clay at Such-and-Such Company’s site.

The knee bone’s connected to the…

Describe the process. Back to How It’s Made (I’m a bit obsessed, I know): sitting on his couch, the viewer has almost certainly never—and likely will never—walk through a peanut butter factory.

But after watching that five-minute segment on the show, he now not only knows the number of peanuts in a jar (1,100, remember? You’re welcome for that bit of trivia now burned into your brain), but also understands—in a general sense—how his PB is made.

  • He understands the precision in controlling temperatures, speed, and quantities.
  • He gets a brief look into what life is like for workers in the plant.
  • He sees how specialized machinery and instruments work together to make his favourite breakfast spread.

Similarly, your case study is a window into what your customers—and potential customers—deal with every day.
Without giving away a company’s manufacturing trade secrets, show the process and how your product is saving your customer time and money.

Who knows? Maybe a potential client reading your article can relate.

“Hmm… so they’re using a point level switch there? I wonder if that would work in my [insert type of production line].”

Life is in the details—whether it’s the quantity of flour manufactured each year to the way your mother-in-law tilted her head while she spoke to your husband about you.

Be specific. Make it interesting. And tell a good story.