From contact to collaborator: selling the benefits of case writing

FeatureYou have a great idea for a case; you know the organisation and your key contact has agreed to meet with you. But what next? How do you sell the idea? How can you persuade your contact to take part? It can be tricky, but the key to success may be to avoid explaining what’s in it for you (tempting as that might be!) and explaining instead what’s in it for them.

Top tip

Be prepared! Make sure you’re ready to share the positive experiences of others who have already benefited from being the subject of a successfully published case. We’ve outlined below some real-life examples of the many advantages that can be gained; you may find them useful as part of your ‘sales pitch’ to your potential subject!

An objective sounding board

‘If you have the chance to take part in writing a case, go for it!’

That was the reaction of Stéphane Wilmet, General Manager, L’Oréal Luxe Division, Yue Sai, after he contributed to Pierre Chandon and Haiyang Yang’s case, L’Oréal in China: Marketing Strategies for Turning Around Chinese Luxury Cosmetic Brand Yue Sai. Stéphane also took part in a couple of classes when the case was taught at INSEAD, France.

‘The process helped us to understand in a more systematic way some of the key issues and their resolution and will help us address future changes with more confidence,’ says Stéphane.

‘Watching the class reminded me of the importance of being able to use an objective sounding board to run through a complex new project or idea. As a business leader, one doesn’t always have the luxury of time and/or access to a wide network of professionals to discuss and review important decisions. It was interesting to watch the students, all seasoned professionals, debate the business case and different options.

‘I also learned from the teaching methodology with regards to my own future organisation and management of internal meetings.’

‘It can be time-consuming and somewhat disruptive,’ adds Stéphane, ‘but it is very much worth whatever inconveniences – all minor – the process may involve.’

Find out more about L’Oréal in China: Marketing Strategies for Turning Around Chinese Luxury Cosmetic Brand Yue Sai.  

Attracting high-calibre talent

‘In the global war for talent we see the chance to train MBA students on Siemens cases as a first opportunity to contact them,’ says Hajo Rapp, Head of Account Management and Market Development at Siemens, Munich. Hajo worked with George Yip and Tao Yue on their case, Siemens Key Account Management: Lost in Central Asia?

‘Visibility to potential employees, but also other stakeholders, is of high relevance,’ says Hajo. ‘The case is also a good introduction on the topic for new staff.’

In addition, Hajo also believes that supporting education is a valuable duty towards society.

Find out more about Siemens Key Account Management: Lost in Central Asia?

Fresh insights and much-needed therapy!

‘Do it!’

So says Sameer Hajee, CEO of Nuru Energy, when asked what advice he would give to anyone considering taking part in a case study.

‘As an entrepreneur, you face hurdles that at times seem insurmountable; you might believe they are unique to you or your business and you can feel very alone. But because the case writers have usually worked with many entrepreneurs before you, and have seen similar growing pains, they are in a unique position to offer some sage advice. Our engagement with them sometimes felt like much-needed therapy!’

The process also added value by helping to raise the profile of Nuru Energy, says Sameer.

‘We are constantly approached by researchers and students who have come across the case and are keen to learn more about us.’

Sameer admits that he was initially concerned about how much information he would be expected to divulge. However, he was quickly reassured that the case writers would respect his boundaries. ‘But the more you give, the more you get,’ he adds.

Find out more about Nuru Energy: Financing a Social Enterprise and From Breakdowns to Breakthroughs.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience

‘Participating in this case was extremely exciting,’ says Simon Cohen, President and CEO of Henco Global.

‘From the beginning, we were looking to learn a lot, and the process exceeded our expectations. One of the most important things is the exposure that my company has when the case is taught at institutions such as London Business School and to many businesspeople all over the world. The networking and contacts I gain are extremely helpful.

‘I have watched the case being taught twice and the experience of being there was just amazing; the feedback and the discussions that emerged from the case were invaluable to me and my organisation.

‘If you have the opportunity to take part in a case, do it. You will never regret it. The experience is really worth it and you will win a lot. It’s a once in a lifetime experience!’

Find out more about the Simon Cohen case.

Find out more about writing cases with companies

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Contact us
If you have recently registered a case with us and would like the chance to talk about your experience of writing and teaching it please contact Antoinette.
Antoinette Mills Antoinette Mills
Media and Systems Development Manager
+44 (0)1234 756416