2022 just started and, for most companies, the annual report is one of the first jobs on this year’s task list. In the past, the result was often a weighty document filled with dense content that could easily end up buried under a pile of paper. Thankfully, there is a much better approach today! Most annual reports are now attractive, interactive and available online. The best ones also incorporate a personal touch, giving them a marketing role as well as an informative purpose.
The annual report is the ideal place to highlight your company’s achievements over the past year, but it is also an excellent opportunity to communicate your brand story once again. The report usually begins with an introduction by the President or CEO outlining the company’s results and stating objectives for the months to come. This human touch can be elaborated with a few personal stories that demonstrate the brand’s vision and spirit. For example, allowing team members to speak proudly about their own achievements shows that you appreciate individual contributions to the company’s overall success. It provides a context and a face behind the figures, ensuring that the message is instantly understood and easily remembered.
Following the general shift to digital communication tools for corporate and product information, most organisations and B2B companies now provide an online version of their annual report. Many have already abandoned the printed version, choosing instead to focus on the wider possibilities offered by digital communication. For example, a web report can be used to present content in digestible units that are flexibly navigated via a user-friendly menu. It can be translated efficiently and distributed on a large scale at a relatively low cost and with greatly reduced environmental impact.
There are also numerous ways to improve readability and engagement with the content. These include interactive functions, videos and animated infographics. Production and revenue figures can be presented in the form of a clear calculator instead of an overwhelming table. In terms of creating appeal and communicating information clearly and memorably, these pages are more effective than the most expensive paper you can buy!
An online report also offers the potential for audience-specific content. With a well thought-out structure, specific messages can be mapped to different target groups so that each reader receives a report tailored to their interests. By addressing your readers personally, you will not only grab their attention but win favour by saving them time.
The annual report is a milestone in your corporate calendar. By making it digital, interactive, original and personal, you can offer your board members, stakeholders, partners and the general public a state-of-the art experience that will set your company apart!