Crestron case studies give our dealer/integrators shareable marketing materials — and promotional tools to generate content for social media and trade publications, too
Jan. 6, 2023 - At first glance, it might seem that Crestron case studies simply make for a quick and easy way to illustrate a dealer’s quality work when a client asks for examples of previous projects. They are, of course, another shareable marketing asset that supports one’s work.
But they’re quite a bit more than that: They’re actually an entry point into a universe that can generate a lot of exposure for an integrator’s business. “When publications reach out to us for subject matter experts on a topic, they often ask for case studies to use as examples of the solution in action,” says Crestron Senior Manager of Public Relations Kaylie Shaffer. There are several other avenues for exposure through the case studies — beyond the “spotlight” materials found on the Crestron site, deeper dives into the projects have been created for the Crestron blog, and projects have been highlighted through all of the Crestron social media channels. Crestron now publishes Smarter Spaces magazine twice a year, and case studies are an integral part of the publication.
Looking for Integration Jobs That Really Make a Splash
Shaffer — who often acts as “project lead” on case studies — says that while there are no hard and fast rules for projects that eventually become case studies, some catch her eye immediately. “The more unique a project is, the better,” she notes. “An enterprise installation with several different rooms that are more than ‘rinse and repeat” deployments, for example. Perhaps a vertical we’ve not highlighted that often — a government project or an entertainment venue are strong examples.”
Once Shaffer and her team have a lead, then the process begins. “We like to get a call set up with the integrator first,” says Shaffer. That 30-minute fact-finding conversation then leads to a similar conversation with the client who commissioned the work. “Quotes from the end users carry a lot of weight,” Shaffer explains. “Those testimonials really add a lot of credibility to a case study.”
Recordings of those conversations are then turned into notes from Shaffer (real-time note-taking can slow an interview down, hence the transcription process), which are sent to the participants for a quick accuracy check. From there, the wordsmithing begins. The initial draft of the text is passed to multiple members of the team, all of whom check for clarity, flow, grammatical errors, and so on. “The goal at the end of that first internal review is to provide both the dealer and end-user with copy that’s as ‘clean’ as we can make it,” says Shaffer. Depending on the project, multiple drafts may be needed, but everyone involved has input at every step. “We want to ensure there are no surprises as we’re building this asset,” Shaffer adds.
From Text to Images to a Completed Case Study
The team then sends along a marketing release form and asks for any project photos that may be available. (In some instances, a photo shoot may be booked by the Crestron marketing department, but all of those decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.) From that point, the PR team begins their graphics work, laying out the entire case study complete with text and images, and that draft — after a last look by the Crestron legal department — is presented to the dealer and the end-user. “The entire process usually takes about four weeks, but there can be variables,” says Shaffer. “There’s no ‘deadline,’ per se — we never sacrifice quality and accuracy for speed.”
Some case studies yield video elements, too. “We’ll send a video production team when we’ve checked a few key boxes,” says Shaffer. And that list includes more than a top-notch installation: “When we encounter a customer who’s really engaging or a spokesperson who presents themselves as a true advocate for the work they’ve done — those personalities help drive the decision to produce a video,” she says. “We look for on-camera representatives that can really push the AV/IT or automation industries forward.”
Overall, the case studies that are most successful are those that focus less on devices and more on the experience of the installation. Shaffer puts it this way: “Whether that's the employees in an office, the guests in a hotel, a homeowner in their house, it's really focusing on that experience that they get as a result of that integration. It's beyond just what the dealer was able to do — it's why they did it that way.” That helps establish the dealer behind the work — and their clients — as industry leaders.
The Uses of a Case Study
Again, there’s much more to the usefulness of a case study than a feature in one section of the Crestron website. “We’ll do deep dives into some of these case studies when it’s warranted,” says Shaffer. For example, the amount of wiring and planning that went into the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital® medical service warranted a separate piece that told the story of the challenges unique to aircraft integration. The case study created for the Corning Optical Communications building triggered a longer piece since the project really leaned into the concepts of hybrid work at a time when the notion was just beginning to catch on. Those pieces aren’t limited to online visibility — as we’ve mentioned, Crestron’s Smarter Spaces magazine is a print publication that draws heavily on case study content.
Those dives and the case studies themselves go a long way toward piquing the interest of trade publications in both the commercial and residential spaces. “We work very closely with our external PR firm and all of those third-party media outlets to provide concrete, real-world examples of what Crestron technology can do in the right hands,” says Shaffer. When a project generates that kind of attention, the trades often want to interview the dealer/integrator themselves for even more detail.
Of course, social media further drives interest in an integrator’s work. “We see a lot of engagement on LinkedIn — people really do want to see what others are up to,” says Shaffer. And, of course, the photo-heavy Instagram platform provides an excellent outlet for the beautiful images that illustrate the marriage of design, architecture, and technology.
The entire section of the Crestron site that spotlights the work that dealers are doing can be used as something of a catalog. “When other firms see what you’re able to do — and the way in which you’ve done it — those ideas can be quickly shared with potential clients: ‘Oh, perhaps, you’d like something like this?’” says Shaffer. “We want everyone to be able to look at those case studies and see the true potential of Crestron solutions. It’s just as much a tool for our integrators as it is for our Crestron salespeople.”