Annual report trends for 2017



Annual reports are often considered only a legal necessity. From a communication point of view – this is a big mistake. They need to be a beautiful sum-up of your year of blood, sweat, and tears. They are hardly something most people get excited about but increasingly brands see annual reports as a chance to really celebrate their successes, and weave a story of what they’ve been doing over the previous 12 months.

Annual reports should be brand ambassadors not just for shareholders and clients but also for employees. They can reinforce your brand’s positioning and be used as a visionary tool to enhance the direction of where your brand or company is heading.

With Q4 upon us, and the end of the year rapidly closing in, we thought we’d look at what you can expect from annual reports in 2017.

1. Continued interactivity

Online annual reports are not a new concept but we are seeing more companies make this shift. With more and more traffic moving towards phones and websites, it’s rather unreasonable to expect traffic patterns to be wildly different for annual reports.

Scrolling a single-page can be an efficient way to encapsulate the key information related to your annual report especially if the content is beautifully designed and connected.

Moreover, including videos can capture our attention in a way that words can’t, and while an online annual report is still about written facts, figures, and goals, videos can often speak just as loudly as text. Here’s a few examples of online reviews that are captivating, with video content, bold designs, sleek layouts, and bright colors:




2. More out of the box thinking

Giving unexciting data a real creative punch is a perfect way to grab attention. And we’re seeing more of these crazy but cool ideas spring out.
Banques alimentaires Québec presented its yearly roundup as a tin can believe it or not – the recognised symbol of a food donation.
With a label that unrolls to reveal data printed in powerfully contrasting black and yellow, designer Albertini Romain used artistic creativity to make people aware of the association’s message.

Another lovely example is the Austria Solar annual report which is ‘the first ever annual report powered by the sun’.

Sometimes the client’s core business can spark off an innovative idea so perfect it seems it was always meant to be.
The pages of this annual report remain blank until you take it outside, where they flood with type and colour.



3. Better and more effective storytelling

Companies are always encouraged to experiment and be innovative in the drafting of their annual reports, presenting narrative information in a way that enables them to best “tell their story”.

We think that we’re going to see a huge injection of storytelling in annual reports. No longer simply just a place to print the hard numbers of your business, it’s now a place for you to convey the core of your company. Linking a business’ purpose, vision, market environment, business model, strategy, risk, performance and governance into one story will immediately give the person reading the report a sense of coherence and logic to the narrative.

Moreover, shareholders are more likely to pay attention if your message is wrapped in a story.

Charity: Water

Get a full insight with a one-to-one session with one of our consultants to constructively review your annual report + discuss how we can help you tell your story, clearly, simply + with great effect.