An increasing number of companies are creating engaging online annual reviews that are an excellent way to summarise and highlight the key successes and achievements of the financial year. Whereas full online annual reports typically include all of the content from the Annual Report and Accounts, annual reviews can be as detailed or as summarised as felt appropriate.
Benefits of Annual Reviews include:
Enhancing brand values - Annual reviews are an excellent way of showcasing what a company has been most proud of in that financial year, highlighting their personality and brand messages in a creative and distinctive manner.
A hub for investors - They act as the ‘go to’ place for information on Annual Report & Accounts and are the perfect place to include download links to the full report or the ability to download specific sections.
Increase in traffic - There have been examples of when beautifully, well designed reports have led to a significant increase in a site’s traffic as seen by Warby Parker, an eyeglass designer in America. Warby Parker had their digital report tweeted over 2,000 times and led to their three highest consecutive days of sales.
Accessibility/ brand awareness - Creating well-designed, engaging content increases the chance of company information being shared and seen by your target audience.
Currently only 51% of the FTSE 100 have some form of online annual report/ review which mean the opportunities are enormous for differentiating yourself from competitors.
See below some great examples of annual reviews from 2014.
Morrisons has an engaging, well considered Annual Review which focuses on the financial successes of the year alongside industry commentary, interesting stats (59% of the fresh food we sell, we make ourselves, 11.8m customers visit every year) and bold brand statements about how they differentiate themselves from their competitors.
The review is actually quite content heavy but it has been designed in a well structured, clean, engaging format that encourages the user to browse for further information.
RSA, one of the world’s leading multinational quoted insurance groups, have created an effective one page overview of their annual report which acts as a hub for investor information. Although, it does not contain a lot of information it is a great example of a brand pulling out key messages and successes in an engaging, well-designed format.
Containing a mixture of high-level financial data, interesting statistics, strong brand statements and creative photography and illustration, they have created a review which clearly stands out from competitors in their industry.
The overview also has a clear call to action to download the Annual Report in its entirety or as specific sections, including; governance, strategic report and financial statements which indicate that the users needs and wishes are a key consideration in the the creation of this report.
Mailchimp’s 2014 annual review is an engaging high-level summary of its key 2014 activities, including; interesting figures, such as the total number of campaigns sent and the number of languages used to the more obscure such as the number of new users in Barbados or the number of billboards they’ve had stolen (1!).
The review is high on personality, showcasing their core brand values and beliefs, the types of events they sponsor (they handed out 10,000 high fives at the Atlantic Pride Parade), their CSR involvement and other areas of investment that they feel are important to them.
The review benefits from excellent linking, whereby top-level statements are linked to popular blog articles from that year or further information is suggested which allow users to search for more content themselves.
A great feature of the review is that if you’re a paid user you can actually create your own bespoke annual review featuring highlights of your own email campaigns.
Not very heavy on financials, this review is obviously based more on appealing to consumers and business clients users rather than their investors.
There are various ways in which companies can approach online reporting, and organisations should take full advantage of these digital opportunities to ensure they stay ahead of their competition and position themselves as leaders in their industry.
We have found increasingly our clients are preferring to create high level online summaries - pulling out key achievements from the year which reflect their brand values and core successes whilst also including links to the full PDF report. This allows the microsite to engage prospective clients quickly, offering them key, engaging and well considered content whilst also encouraging investors to access further more detailed information if they wish. The microsite essentially acts as a hub for all annual reporting information and a ‘go to’ point for investors.
Whether companies choose to display their full report online or as a summarised version, we always recommend not to simply duplicate the content from the printed report but to optimise the digital capabilities available in order to create a report that is visually engaging and interesting to the user.
We very much look forward to showcasing more inspiring examples of annual reports and reviews in 2015.