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How to Make the Anonymous Case Study Work

Anonymous Case Studies don’t always seem appealing because of the credibility issues they raise. After all, how can a company convincingly claim how well it served its clients if the clients refuse to be named? 

However, a lot of companies face the challenge of serving clients that place restrictions on publishing information explicitly identifying them. Your prospects likely understand and accept this as a normal practice—they may even appreciate that you respect it.

As long as you’ve got a client open to participating in an anonymous Case Study, you can create a powerful success story. 

Levels of Client Permission

Clients differ when it comes to participating in and giving permission for Case Studies. Some clients will freely give you their logos, branding guidelines, and contact and schedule information if you ask. Others will participate in interviews but decline the use of their companies’ or employees’ names. And of course, there are the clients who won’t participate at all.

Sometimes, it’s simply policy to not use identifying company images and names in content not generated by the company itself. Other times, the client contact isn’t sure what higher-ups will approve. A lack of control over the final product and how it’s distributed may make the client uneasy. 

Knowing the clients’ concerns about the content and how it will be used will enable you to address them. Let clients know they’ll have the opportunity to review the content before it’s finalized and where it will be published. This explanation may be enough to convince some clients to give full permission to use names, logos, and images.

There are times, though, when the client still can’t or won’t grant permission. In these cases, anonymous Case Studies are the way to go. 

There are different approaches to creating effective anonymous Case Studies, and this post focuses on two of them: full participation and no participation.

The Anonymous Case Study with the Client’s Full Participation

Clients may agree to participate in Case Study interviews but not allow you to use company names, logos, and images. The approach to completing this anonymous Case Study work is similar to that with clients’ full permission, with a few minor differences.

First, ask the client how closely you can describe the company in terms of the industry and location. This will ground your anonymous Case Study without identifying the company. Being too vague risks your audience not connecting with your Case Study, or disbelieving it all together. Company descriptions may look like “a landscaping company in south Florida,” “a restaurant chain in the Midwest,” “a global retail giant,” “healthcare nonprofit,” and so on.

Next, learn how you should refer to your anonymous Case Study interviewee when providing quotes. Some may agree to first names and job titles or job titles only. In these cases, you would simply replace the interviewee’s name in the quote attribution with something like “Amanda, the company’s Senior Account Manager” or just “the Senior Account Manager.”

Then, you’ll write and design the anonymous Case Study without any identifying details before showing it to the client to approve. Keep in mind that at that point, there’s a chance the client may grant full permission to use names, logos, and headshots. (Sometimes the client wants to see how the Case Study turns out before granting permission.) You shouldn’t bank on this occurring, but know that it can happen and that you can always add a name and logo at a future date.

See how we handled this anonymous Case Study that had the subject’s full participation.

The Anonymous Case Study with No Participation

In addition to not granting permission, clients may refuse to participate at all in the anonymous Case Study. Their refusal may be due to a company policy or a lack of time or resources. You can still make this work! 

Instead of interviewing your client, you’ll interview your own in-house employees who’ve worked with the client. These individuals strongly understand the client’s pain points and can capture many of the experiences and nuances that make the narrative relatable and memorable. Furthermore, they can describe the implemented solution while providing a strong alignment with your desired messaging. 

This type of anonymous Case Study actually benefits from anonymity and lack of client participation. Your employees can provide a unique, more frank insight about the client’s situation and success, which a client’s involvement prevents.

Take a look at one of our anonymous Case Studies that did not have the subject’s participation.

The Use Case Option

A fully anonymous Case Study without client participation gives you the opportunity to instead create a Use Case. Use Cases are types of B2B content that describe how customers might use your product or service and experience results. They allow you to showcase your offering and dig into the specifics of its benefits and characteristics you most care about by describing its use in a real-world situation.

Here’s an example of one of our Use Cases that doesn’t identify the subject.

Conclusion

Whether makes a Case Study really successful isn’t whether it’s anonymous or otherwise, but rather that it successfully captures the client’s perspective. We at SuccessKit can help you with that. In fact, we take care of the entire Case Study creation process from start to finish. We get the necessary approvals, interview your clients, and write and design a high-quality Case Study that will aid you in your sales and marketing efforts. Send us a message at [email protected] to get started.

Stef Mates

Stef Mates has been writing, designing, editing, and managing a variety of content types for several different industries for more than 15 years. She started at SuccessKit as a freelancer in November 2019 and became an official part of the team as the Director of Editing, Writing, and Design in June 2021.

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