Annual Report are, for many organizations, a necessary evil. When working with clients on Annual Reports, we always ask how it will be used. And you know what? They often don’t have a clue, not because our clients aren’t great at their jobs (they are) but because Annual Reports are one of those things you have to do, even if you don’t really think they work. They’re the long boring meetings of marketing collateral. But they don’t have to be. Really.
Here are a few things that make digital Annual Reports sing…
Get interactive: Think about including surveys, interactive timelines or maps, even feedback forms. Create a two-way conversation with your audience, a goal made easier to achieve when you’re crafting digital assets. (Hint: if your digital Annual Report looks and works like the PDF version, there’s room for improvement!) Use your Annual Report as another vehicle to tell your brand story, always easier with a dash of interactivity.
Use audio/video but don’t forget a print version for old timers: Incorporating video and audio can take any digital Annual Report to the next level. The traditional prez letter is still great, but why not share a video or audio clip of your prez, use customized video in your header, or embed videos throughout the report to drive home key messages. But many members of your audience may still like paper, so incorporate a print version to appeal to the traditionalists.
Prioritize good news: Use real estate wisely by highlighting good news and putting those pesky less fun or unwelcome assets behind man messages can give you more control of how you shape your own news. For example, animated financial charts grab attention, but if the news is less positive, shifting it off the main page, onto a secondary page or pop up highlights the messages you most want to share.
For many brands, Annual Reports have to be done, but they really do not have to be dull. Indeed, expectations of Annual Reports are pretty low, so over delivering on expectations is a great way to stand out from the crowd and make your brand shine. Your brand is not boring, your mission is not lame… there’s no reason your Annual Report should be!