RECENT STORIES

6 Annual report formats you should consider

The annual report continues to be one of the best ways to craft and communicate your company’s recent success, initiatives and future opportunities. Today though, it’s becoming more challenging to reach your audience as attention spans shrink and information outlets grow. There are many formats and channels to choose from to reach your stakeholders.

Here are 6 annual report formats that you should consider for 2018.

1. Deliver online through a microsite.  A microsite that contains your report is one of our favorite options for delivery. With proper navigation you can easily lead a user to the executive letter or an in-depth look at recent company activities. This option offers plenty of engagement opportunities. For example, it gives you the ability to link to various sections of your website to further build interest. Perhaps you have information about product plans or market conditions and your team recently featured this through a press release—you can link to this from your online report.

For Emergent Biosolutions, we designed their CSR report with print and online editions. In this way, Emergent can reach a wider audience of stakeholders with their message of community involvement.

2. Create a video. Did you know that one-third of online activity is spent watching video? Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. Video is memorable, engaging and easier to consume than a lengthy, text-based report. It gives your company the ability to tell your story in a personal way, with plenty of possibilities for engagement through images, sound, and music. A video version is also easier to share and track through viewing analytics. A great example is the interactive General Electric 2016 Annual Report.

We produced a one minute video introduction as part of the 2016 online report for American Public Education (APEI). It describes visually who the students are and how they are making a difference in the community. Four other short videos are also presented as part of the report. This treatment makes the story come alive and is an effective way to tell personal stories of how APEI is making a difference in peoples lives.

3. Send a PDF. Sending a PDF has become the standard delivery method preferred by most readers. It’s easy to use and can be kept handy for future use. It sends a message that you’re mindful of the costs and environmental impact that printing can have. A PDF also gives you the ability to send your report through email to track open rates, replies and clicks of your sent email.

4. Develop an infographic. Infographics can provide an excellent visual for your organization in an easy-to-digest format. It can be used alongside a microsite, PDF or printed annual report, or as a stand-alone option. Infographics are an efficient display of your data—it can simplify complex ideas into key messages for the busy reader. Consider giving your readers a “teaser” of an infographic through your blog and include a link to read the full report.

5. Print a traditional version. It’s all about delivering the right format at the right place and right time. If your investors love reading a printed copy with their morning coffee, this is the best format for them. If they would rather scroll through a site or watch a video, than that format is best. Traditional print retains many advantages for companies seeking credibility, repetition and a closer connection with their stakeholders, which may outweigh even the most-used digital media.

6. Make it mobile-friendly. We’re pretty much glued to our phones at this point. So, making a mobile-friendly version of your annual report will be an added bonus to your delivery channels. A well-designed mobile version directs audiences through your annual report content and links to other sections of your website. Check that the report is responsive across mobile devices and takes advantage of the convenience one touch on a phone provides.

To determine which of these annual report formats is best for your company, you should consider costs, timelines and target audience. The annual report, when produced correctly, remains a powerful tool to communicate a company’s strengths and strategies to key stakeholders, even in today’s world of instant information.

Find out how FCI can help you choose the right format for your annual report.

—February 2018

For Emergent Biosolutions, we designed their CSR report with print and online editions. In this way, Emergent can reach a wider audience of stakeholders with their message of community involvement.

We produced a one minute video introduction as part of the 2016 online report for American Public Education (APEI). It describes visually who the students are and how they are making a difference in the community. Four other short videos are also presented as part of the report. This treatment makes the story come alive and is an effective way to tell personal stories of how APEI is making a difference in peoples lives.

  A microsite that contains your report is one of our favorite options for delivery. With proper navigation you can easily lead a user to the executive letter or an in-depth look at recent company activities. This option offers plenty of engagement opportunities. For example, it gives you the ability to link to various sections of your website to further build interest. Perhaps you have information about product plans or market conditions and your team recently featured this through a press release—you can link to this from your online report.

Did you know that one-third of online activity is spent watching video? Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. Video is memorable, engaging and easier to consume than a lengthy, text-based report. It gives your company the ability to tell your story in a personal way, with plenty of possibilities for engagement through images, sound, and music. A video version is also easier to share and track through viewing analytics. A great example is the interactive General Electric 2016 Annual Report.

Sending a PDF has become the standard delivery method preferred by most readers. It’s easy to use and can be kept handy for future use. It sends a message that you’re mindful of the costs and environmental impact that printing can have. A PDF also gives you the ability to send your report through email to track open rates, replies and clicks of your sent email.

Infographics can provide an excellent visual for your organization in an easy-to-digest format. It can be used alongside a microsite, PDF or printed annual report, or as a stand-alone option. Infographics are an efficient display of your data—it can simplify complex ideas into key messages for the busy reader. Consider giving your readers a “teaser” of an infographic through your blog and include a link to read the full report.

It’s all about delivering the right format at the right place and right time. If your investors love reading a printed copy with their morning coffee, this is the best format for them. If they would rather scroll through a site or watch a video, than that format is best. Traditional print retains many advantages for companies seeking credibility, repetition and a closer connection with their stakeholders, which may outweigh even the most-used digital media.

We’re pretty much glued to our phones at this point. So, making a mobile-friendly version of your annual report will be an added bonus to your delivery channels. A well-designed mobile version directs audiences through your annual report content and links to other sections of your website. Check that the report is responsive across mobile devices and takes advantage of the convenience one touch on a phone provides.