Impress your shareholders or employees
with an attractive and informative annual report from ocreations.
Q: Does my company need an Annual Report?
A: Yes, if you are publicly traded, then annual reports have been a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirement since 1934. If your company is private, it’s still a good idea.
01 – Core design concepts for a professional Annual Report
- Annual Reports are formal financial statements presented in an attractive design layer, published yearly and sent to shareholders, investors and interested parties. For publicly traded companies there are very specific financial requirements in an annual report that must be disclosed to the public by law. For any other private company, there are no legal requirements but the high quality design standard set by public companies is desirable for any annual report.
Formatting financial statements into useful readable form takes the report design to a level beyond spreadsheets and dry numbers. In theory one could simply send out ‘audited statements of income’ on black & white letter sized paper with the minimum requirements imposed by the SEC but this would hardly capitalize on one of the most important branding opportunities of the year.
The core concept of a professionally designed annual report is to satisfy the legal requirement aspect while simultaneously designing an annual report that people will actually want to read
02 – Using Annual Reports as a marketing tool
- An Annual Report can persuade new readers to become investors, shareholders or fans as well as strengthen brand loyalty, inspire confidence and build trust with existing stockholders. This is the perfect opportunity to advance a theme, motto or catchphrase that the company wants to leverage as a branding tool.
Annual reports are commonly used as a declaration of purpose and remain effective tools in defining the company image. The Annual Report is a way to define how a company sees itself and influence how others see that company. It’s quite common for stockholders to ‘collect’ and save the annual reports of the companies they invest in, turning them into trophies. The best designed annual reports become masterpieces of print design deserving of a special place on shareholders’ bookshelves and desktops. An annual report should be designed so well that no one would want to throw it away.
03 – Targeting the audience in an Annual Report
- Existing stockholders and new potential investors are the primary target audience for annual reports. Employees are also likely to be shareholders, broadening the audience and inspiring new hires or attracting new talent. Employees in the C-Class suite (CEO, CFO, CTO, etc.) will often review the annual report of a company before considering sending in an application. The desire to work at a company can often be a response to looking at a well-done Annual Report.
Customers, suppliers and the general public are also target audiences. Depending on the excitement around a company Reporters, News and Media workers alike will jump at the chance to be the first to obtain an Annual Report as this is a critical opportunity to be the first “in the know”. Designing an Annual Report to speak to all of these audiences is an important strategic marketing decision
04 – Annual Report packaging and presentation
- Sophisticated packaging and ultra-modern design concepts have set the standard very high for the design of Annual Reports, especially for Public Companies, but also Private ones as well. Take a look at some of the 2017 winners of Annual Report design and we will find everything from real wood boxes to the best quality paper and emulsion print processes! If we then examine the international design award winners for 2018 Annual Reports we can see the integration of Augment Reality is also making its way – designs can literally “jump off the page now”.
The use of high-quality design and materials creates a stunning presentation and conveys a powerful message to your investors, employees and the general public (if they are lucky enough to get their hands on one) is not a trend, it is a tradition.
Turns out that this is a great example where the package is just as important (if not more) than its contents. Folks say not to judge a book by its cover but judging an annual report by its cover is the standard these days.
We understand how important every facet is. From the cover and packaging down to the contents, ocreations can help your company bring an amazing annual report to life.
05 – Understanding and reading the Annual Report
- Knowing how to design a killer Annual Report is the result of understanding all the key concepts above including knowledge of print design, being in touch with modern design trends and combining them with knowing what belongs in the Annual Report. We want readers to do more than be informed as the result of reading, there is a very specific set of tasks, feelings and actions we want readers to take.
Starting from the base, we design a report to satisfy legal and financial requirements and build onto the next layer- satisfy investors and shareholders. When an investor holds the Annual Report we want them to feel the value, the weight and experience a reassuring feeling: “My investment is secure, this company is well managed”.
Communicating the correct data to the reader and triggering the right feeling can be accomplished by a series of interactions, page by page, and knowing what the reader will want to see next. This is accomplished by reporting on and generating “Goodwill” – the section of the report that highlights company accomplishments and its foundation priorities. Closing out the report is usually accomplished with a final “Call to Action” for the readers. If the annual report was designed professionally, it should result in satisfied and informed investors.