For most businesses, the beginning of the “financial” year is a time to reflect on the past twelve months. Just as you might look back over the year behind you and make decisions about your future, companies consider the numbers behind their failures and successes and make growth plans. Unfortunately, these plans could be more varied, underfunded, and under-respected. Your annual report is your opportunity to get everyone excited about the development of your company – from shareholders to employees and customers. That means you must pump some personality into the mix with a concept and design implementation that speaks to your brand’s background. So, how can you use annual report design to benefit your brand? Just because your annual report contains valuable corporate and financial information for your investors doesn’t mean it’s nothing more than a book of numbers. On the contrary, a yearly report is a vital communication tool for your business that helps you recap your previous financial year and sells your business to potential investors.
Make data accessible
Traditionally annual reports involved printing a physical report and mailing it to stakeholders. While this is still a popular annual report design process, many companies are designing offline reports and providing online access to digital versions.
An essential factor in deciding the format for your annual report is figuring out what your investors prefer. In addition, your delivery method for any material, marketing or otherwise, should be chosen according to your audience’s wants. For example, if your stakeholders spend equal time offline and online, offering both printed and online versions could make your report all the more accessible.
Don’t just report
Okay, so it’s safe to assume that an annual report is meant for “reporting,” but that’s not all it’s about. While number crunching is essential, all the numbers can start to look dull after a while, and that’s where annual report design becomes so crucial. A visually-appealing report highlights your achievements while setting your company apart as something special. Infographics and images can increase engagement of your report content. However, it also means introducing some personality into the mix. Remember, your report should be a combination of facts, design, and interesting content that helps to tell a story about the last year.
Use design to define your brand
Finally, remember that your annual report design can be a crucial marketing tool and a great way to showcase your efforts to other investors. Begin by evaluating your brand mission, personality, and values, identify all elements that help tie these things together, and think about how you can visually display your personality. Some companies create their annual report design with a central overarching theme, just as they might when developing a new marketing campaign. Whatever you choose, it’s important to remember that your annual report, like any other marketing material, helps to represent your brand. Therefore, it should be a perfect example of what you want your company to stand for.