• Marc Bates

Thinking beyond the box

Updated: Apr 8, 2019


Thinking beyond the box

I love a good case study. Nothing else quite brings a client’s business proposition to life in the same way. For me, it’s layering of information that makes case studies invaluable. Combining detailed facts and figures; a descriptive process; evocative images; and customer testimonials, tells the complete story. Whether the study is designed to look like a brochure, or filmed for a 2-minute promo video, the result can be compelling and creative. Here’s one we made earlier.


Case Study of case study

Balanced was commissioned by document archiving specialists CAS, to write, design and publish a report outlining one of their more complex projects. ‘Thinking Beyond the Box’ shines a light on document archiving; an administrative task that is critical to the efficient running of an organisation. Critical but largely invisible. This report was designed to highlight the various stages involved and to promote CAS’s expertise.


Digitising patient records

CAS had been approached by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust (CCS), to undertake a project to relocate, scan and securely archive 20,000 confidential patient health care files. The files were for the Children & Young Person’s Unit and included information about all children receiving attention and support from across the catchment area. A paperless health service is a high-profile agenda that has largely been driven by the government, who challenged the NHS to go paperless by 2018. Some NHS Trusts have already achieved the move, but many others are still in the process. The highest levels of data protection and accuracy were required.


Research and structure

Researching the painstaking process was fascinating. The sheer number of pages of hand-written information contained in 20,000 medical records is truly immense. Files contained between 50 and 300 pages each, that’s a conservative average of 2.5 million pages. That volume explains why the NHS is under pressure from government, patient groups and clinicians alike to digitise the archive. To create the report I ‘chunked’ the story into easy to digest chapters: Overview, Background, Process and Outcomes. The Process section itself was subdivided. Breaking down the process step-by-step helped to demonstrate to CAS’s clients the complexity of the job. For example, many records were in a fragile state and needed to be handled with care. The team had to remove all of the paper clips and staples from each record. Simple enough you say, but most files had around 50 clip-items per record; that's a total weight of nearly a metric tonne. That's a lot of staples. Each page had to be individually scanned, along with any additional notes like post-its, and then the files reassembled, in the original order returned to the correct record folder. By outlining each stage in the storage and digitisation process, we were able to highlight some very specific tasks. These included cataloguing, scanning, barcoding and document curation; all of which CAS offers as stand-alone services.


Off-the-wall design

The nature of the client’s work here, i.e., handling confidential patient records, meant that we couldn’t use any images of the process itself. And a series of shots of paper clips and dusty old records wouldn’t have added to the case study anyway. So the design takes a slightly tongue-in-cheek approach — using images of children playing in storage boxes — selected to surprise and entertain readers. The images are used full-page with text overlaid in a very magazine-style. Graphics and icons were used to highlight some of the facts and figures. The whole report runs to six pages and is designed in landscape A4 — optimised to view on screen but easy for readers to print-off.


Effective results

The end product is a smart and engaging six-page document that positions CAS as experts in their field. It outlines a particular project; highlights a broad range of linked, but individually available services; and presents the story of a very satisfied client. Designed to be printed and delivered by email, the case study took five days to produce. For document storage, scanning and archiving contact CAS on 0845 50 50 003 or visit www.CAS.ltd


Contact Marc to chat about your marketing plans.


Post by Marc Bates

Marc is the founder of Balanced Agency. With more than 20 years experience, As a full-service agency, Balanced specialises in branding and content marketing for charities, start-ups, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME's). Our aim is to develop targeted communications strategies and then to create practical, compelling and cost-effective marketing assets. Balanced is based in Camberwell in the London borough of Southwark but works with clients across the UK. Our customers come in a wide range of charity, B2B and consumer-facing sectors.

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Balanced Agency specialises in delivering balanced marketing and communications solutions for charities, startups and SMEs. Based in London City Island, in the borough of Tower Hamlets, we want to help local companies develop and deploy fantastic marketing strategies that get results. Branding, marketing strategy, content planning and copywriting, social media, print design for brochures, stationery and magazines, website design, and membership marketing all under one roof.

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