Annual reports are dull. Something must be changed.
For the majority of stakeholders who have not been blessed with a penchant for accountancy, the ability to seamlessly translate from Investor Relations’ financial legalese to English, making it through the task of reading an annual report is a daunting prospect. Many would opt for a quick glance at certain bullet points and a scan of the numbers and CEO statement, which invariably assures that a large percentage of the overall picture of the company will be overlooked. Clearly, to make annual reports more palatable to all stakeholders, something must be changed.
Digital annual reports – a new look at the mainstay of corporate communication
Digital publishing touts a superior user experience
A far cry from simply being able to download an annual report in PDF format, modern digital publishing enables businesses to create and publish interactive multimedia stories and audio-visual content with ease. The web layout and navigation, mobile friendliness, intelligent search and multimedia capability help IR departments to create a reporting experience that speaks to the long-time investors as well as those with a new-found interest in the company, all the while providing a better overall experience for all stakeholders across all modern platforms.
Enhance your annual report with visual representation of data
Just as important as the data you’re presenting is how you’re presenting it. Use of well-placed interactive infographics, animation, and video statements can present a more accessible explanation of your company’s current position and recent activities in a manner that is captivating for all members of the audience. To best understand the usage and potential of these 3 concepts – as well as how they can enhance your annual report – let’s take a look at each one.
#1 Visual appeal and brand awareness
First and foremost is the infographic. Essentially taking written data and presenting it with visual cues, these visual aids break down substantial and complex explanatory text into a more stimulating and accessible form. In addition to providing fast, relevant, and impactful data, infographics are not only useful within a digital annual report, but also highly important in explaining complex concepts outside of the annual report, such as through social media channels. This has the added benefit of increasing brand awareness and connectivity.
#2 Storytelling and corporate identity
From an annual report reader’s perspective, animations – by nature, involving sound and movement – are far more engaging than static images and text, which translates to there being a better chance of the information having a lasting impact. What’s more, animation can be a means of creating or enhancing your corporate identity: everything from soundtrack, dialogue, tone, and animation style can (and should) be a means of defining your unique identity and/or targeting a specific audience or demographic. Aside from being engaging, the power of animation lies in its ability to break down complex topics – like an infographic – but also to provide context. All of this helps to explain the how and why of your strategy to readers.
#3 Openly communicate with your stakeholders
Finally, there is perhaps nothing that will have more of an impact on potential readers than a video statement, notably from the CEO. According to various studies on CEO positioning, a CEO can significantly influence perceptions of the company among stakeholders and shape the public image of the brand. It is obvious that CEOs are in an ideal position to speak directly to stakeholders on the condition, actions, and viability/profitability of the company. Unfortunately, all too often, CEO statements in annual reports appear in the form of an alienating written statement. Compare this with the CEO videos of former Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche (aka Dr. Z), which, as noted by Claudio Barrantes writing for nexxar, much like an informal business interview, showcased a refreshing blend of personality, understanding, and business acumen.
The content required in an annual report is normally determined by national and international financial reporting standards, but this does not mean that corporations can not present “factual” information in engaging formats.
Here is some inspiration:
Red Dot Awards – Brands & Communication Design: Annual Reports
The Best Digital Annual Reports of 2019 (Briteweb)
23 Creative Annual Reports People Actually Want to Read (Visme)
Digital annual reporting brings some added value
Expand and customise your reach
An annual report created in a digital format can significantly increase accessibility and readership (fast loading speed, layouts that adapt to the device, easy embedding across digital distribution channels).
Different audiences and demographics could be easily addressed via a highly customisable interface and tailored content.
Improve SEO and ROI
The search engine-friendly format and navigation of digital annual reports allows for better search engine indexing and higher SEO rankings.
The web format further allows for in-depth analytics and conversion tracking (for example, Google Analytics integration).
Knowing your users better, translates into higher ROIs.
Enhance your content strategy and marketing assets
Digital publishing allows for content management system integrations and the possibility to use ready-made layout blocks, along with the easy creation and storage of templates and re-usage of elements in other marketing channels such as e-mail marketing and social media platforms.
By digitalising your financial reporting, you not only save on printing costs, but promote a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way of corporate reporting.
Communicating financial results is a requirement for every listed company, but it is for every individual Investor Relations department to decide on the format and distribution channels.
Digital annual report localisation
EVS Translations’ global in-house translation technology and multimedia localisation teams (our translation engineering team includes specialists who work daily for some of the world’s leading brands on audio and video localisation projects), backed up by latest software technology and SEO expertise, guarantee that each and every element of your digital annual report (navigation index, interactive infographics, audio and video, intelligent search and export functions as well as performance calculators) is going to be localised and optimised with utmost precision.
If you have any questions regarding our annual report translation and localisation services, or would like to schedule a free consultation – contact our team today.
EVS Translations UK Ltd.
+44 (0)115 964 4288
EVS Translations USA Inc.
EVS Translations GmbH
+49 69/82 97 99-99