November 13, 2018

The Benefits of Annual Reports

In the name of transparency, every publicly-traded company must put out an Annual Report. It’s a way for them to divulge crucial information to shareholders and ensure a formalized source of communication is accessible to the public. Annual Reports are valuable tools investors utilize to make informed decisions about potential investments. For publicly-traded companies, they are not only a necessity, they are critical.

But what if your business is not public? Perhaps you’re a small business owner or run a non-profit organization. While you’re not legally required to do so, producing an Annual Report can prove to be an invaluable marketing tool. Here’s why:

Tell a Story

An Annual Report, at its heart, is a story - one that exists to communicate past years’ performance in an authentic but compelling, confident, and inspiring manner. It should have a theme that ties many threads, including current market performance, industry context, the company’s financial performance, and its success in accomplishing its strategic objectives, with a common story that frames the financials in a positive light that appeals to various target audiences. It must speak chiefly to investors, but also to the industry, employees, and even competitors. The information selected, order of content, tone, and specific vocabulary choices are key considerations when crafting an Annual Report.


Connect Audiences with Leadership

An Annual Report provides your organization’s leadership the chance to speak directly to a variety of audiences. Not only does the included letter from the CEO allow them to address those with a vested interest in the organization, but it also serves as a point of discussion and opens up a dialogue about the company’s current state and future goals. Unless in the media, rarely does a CEO get the chance to connect with audiences who have a stake in their organization, and even then, it’s indirect. An Annual Report allows leadership to check in and develop a deeper connection with those who make the business possible.

Think Ahead

As mentioned, an Annual Report has the ability to tell a story. However, not only does it provide an accurate depiction of your organization’s most recent fiscal year, it also has the opportunity to set the tone for the future. By reconnecting invested audiences with your organization’s fundamental beliefs and values, an Annual Report becomes a source of information for what direction the company is going in and what it’s going to take to get it there.

While an Annual Report can be a resourceful communication tool for any organization, it is also very important to ensure the information is presented in a way that grabs the attention of whoever is reading, be it an investor or competitor. It is crucial to first identify the story you want your organization to tell in order to tell it effectively. To ensure marketing efforts are maximized, brand consistency should be maintained throughout and the design must present information in a manner that is readily understandable by the reader and conscious of their attention span. To do that, it’s vital to create context for the data in a manner that is more visually interesting.

At William Joseph, our passion for telling stories and connecting clients with their customers and stakeholders makes us ideal partners when it comes to developing your company’s Annual Report. We make an effort and take the time to build a solid relationship with your team, listening to your needs and partnering in every way we can. We also analyze your brand standards and relevant, current marketing initiatives to ensure we design to your standards and see the larger picture. Beyond the expertise and professionalism expected, we ensure that we are collaborative, respectful, passionate, and most importantly, easy to work with. We get to know your story, inside and out, so we can share it with your audiences. Our extensive experience in developing Annual Reports for a variety of businesses in ranging industries makes us confident we can create something special with you.

Are you ready to explore the possibilities an Annual report can bring to your business? Get in touch with us today.