Turning this year’s Annual Report into a powerful marketing tool

Welcome to Fresco Creatives first blog post of 2019!  While it may only be January and we are all still clinging to the memory of Christmas break, it’s time to start thinking about your company’s Annual Report – and no, it’s not too soon.

Annual Reports in the past may have been viewed as a less-than-thrilling statutory obligation, something companies produced out of sheer necessity, however in recent years that old-school assumption has changed. Annual Reports are now, thanks to technology and this era of liking, sharing and reacting, a powerful tool that gives readers the opportunity to emotionally connect with and understand a brand. A well-designed, strategic Annual Report gives your company the ability to turn what was once a chore into an incredible marketing tool, one that has the potential to be shared by thousands of people online while at the same time building trust and forging strong relationships with shareholders, potential investors, employees and competitors.

5 points to keep in mind when approaching your Annual Report:

1. Give background to your company                                                                                       

Show your company’s true personality, let the real people and behind-the-scenes stories that often hide behind the walls of professionalism, shine through. Tell your brand’s story the way you want it to be told with emphasis on the path the company has taken to get to where it is today. Don’t be afraid to make people smile and chuckle a little, along the way, injecting humour into a commonly dull type of report can be a great way to spark a connection with your reader.

2. Explain data with infographics and icons                                                                                                              

Take advantage of visuals, let them bring context to statistics and a sense of playfulness to your company. Using icons, pictograms, infographics and different types of charts can reduce repetition, helping your reader absorb information while also breaking up the pages into bite-sized chunks. It is important you make it easy for viewers to click through to webpages and online references as well as allowing them to share the report on all social platforms, further increasing your reach. It’s also a great idea to organise your content and include colour-coded navigation which groups certain sections inside the report, helping the reader keep track of where they are.

3. Communicate success                                                                                                          

Make clear the impact the company has had in the past year, highlighting achievements big and small – especially ethical, environmental and community initiatives and milestones. You should not be afraid of celebrating or over-promoting these areas, just be sure to establish an authentic connection early on in the report, don’t exaggerate and be honest.

4. Accountability, sustainability and strategic vision                                                    

Above all else your Annual Report needs to be genuine, highlighting your values and your vision, not only for your company but for your staff, customers and your community. An Annual Report communicates a company’s strategy while at the same time reinforcing it’s values, successes and ethics, so it is crucial that the report accurately reflects the company and any causes the company believes in.

5. Stick to one key theme

Think outside of the box, Annual Reports don’t have to be pages upon pages of words that put you to sleep somewhere in the middle. Brighten it up with more white space and interesting graphics that convey key information – find creative ways to communicate your message. An intereactive website, an app or a book in an unusual shape – the opportunities are endless! However it is important that whatever it is you decide to do, pick a theme that works for your brand and stick to it, be consistent, make sure each page relates to the next and ensure people aren’t going to get lost or overwhelmed too easily.

It’s time to start thinking about what your next Annual Report can do for your brand and how you’re going to make it happen. To learn more about how we can add impact to your next Annual Report contact Fresco Creative on (02) 8116 9032 alternatively you can browse our website for examples of previous Annual Reports we have created.