At the end of a fiscal year, businesses scramble to gather financial records and meet SEC regulations.
Too often this results in a report consisting entirely of dull black and white spreadsheets that stakeholders dread reading. An annual report design agency, however, can transform that drab report into a powerful company resource.
While your annual report does contain valuable financial and corporate information for investors, it is much more than a book of numbers. It is a vital communication tool for your business that not only recaps the year financially but also shows stakeholders who is making decisions and how they are beneficial to the company’s best interest.
Because the majority of annual report content is financial information, one of the biggest challenges of creating a well-designed annual report is to keep readers interested while showcasing a positive representation of your company. Luckily, you can easily do this through consumer insights and design techniques.
Traditional annual reports are printed out in booklet form and mailed out to stakeholders. While this is still the most popular method of distributing annual reports, many companies are taking their printed annual reports and providing access to interactive PDF versions online. Some businesses are even scrapping printed reports all together and moving to strictly digital annual reports.
The most important factors in deciding whether or not to provide additional PDFs or transitioning to a completely online annual report are the preferences of your stakeholders.
If a majority of your investors aren’t spending time online, printing is probably the best way to go. If your stakeholders are spending equal time on and offline, consider offering both printed and online versions. That way consumers can either read their hard copy or hop online to view your annual report at any time.
It’s no surprise that a majority of the information in your annual report will be the result of number crunching. While this is important information that your investors need to know and understand, let’s be honest, numbers all start to look the same after awhile. This is where an annual report design agency comes in.
A visually appealing report highlights achievements from the fiscal year and can set your company apart from its competitors.
Pictures, infographics, and a mix of other aesthetic elements keep readers actively engaged with the pertinent content. Take time to put some personality and spice up graphs and charts so that they display your financials in a way that is easy to understand and allows readers to find important information quickly.
When describing the non-financial recap of your business’s year, don’t just state the facts and get it over with. At its most basic level, your annual report is truly a marketing tool. It markets your business to stakeholders so that they continue to support you.
Use your annual report to tell a story about your business’ past year and really show your business off.
Stakeholders make an investment in your business, so use your annual report to show the ins and outs of the company. Take time throughout the year to document your business on a regular work day.
Take photos, get to know employees and truly show how your company operates at its core. Then share that with investors in your annual report.
One of the most important elements of your business are the leaders and decision-makers.It’s important that your investors get to know the individuals sitting in your business’ driver’s seat.
A well-designed annual report will not only introduce your executive board, but it will also provide background information for stakeholders to really get to know the leaders of the company.
A good way to let investors into executives’ minds? Consider a Q&A or “meet the executives” section.
Again, your annual report can be thought of as a marketing tool for investors, so why not use it to reinforce your brand image?
Start by evaluating your brand persona, values, mission and vision. Identify all of the elements that help tie these together and how you can display it visually. Then develop a central theme, just as you would when developing a marketing campaign, that you can use and reference throughout your annual report.
An annual report design agency creates a design package, step-by-step, rather than combining several different elements. First they choose a theme, lay out cover design, and then decide on an all internal displays of information, including colors, typeface and graphics. This helps you create a cohesive package of design elements that together, truly represent your brand and build a well-designed annual report.
Even the simplest financial data can be made more interesting if it is presented in a visually-appealing way. Rather than viewing your annual report as a “necessary evil,” use it as a marketing tool to present your company in a unique and interactive way and see how truly beneficial it is to your business.
Interested in other ways an annual report design agency can improve investment engagement? Download our free checklist or contact Watermark today!