Long live your annual report!

Your annual report is a must-read. But to get everyone to read it, you've got to do something with it first. (And we mean more than just sending out a press release).

How much time did it take your team to create the annual report? Which colleagues worked hard on it (and probably cursed it too)?

And erm… what did all that work yield? A beautifully written, well-designed report, online or in print, that’s for sure.

But did it also draw your customers closer? Did it persuade potential customers?

In short: have you made your annual report a part of your communications mix?

Let’s face it: the part it deserves may be quite prominent.

Because it’s the best – and perhaps the only – document that explains what your company stands for, where you’re at and where you’re going.

A document or a website of several pages really might make it hard for (potential) customers and stakeholders to grasp the full picture. That’s why you need to do something with your annual report.

Turn it into a story. And build a campaign around that story.

An annual report shouldn’t be a mere enumeration of facts. (If you insist on including a timeline filled with achievements, okay, but please don’t let that dominate your report). Look further. Look wider. Go deeper.

  1. Define the bigger theme. What made the past year special?
    Tip: don’t just look back, look ahead too. That way, you can immediately tell your audience what the future might bring. What’s more, if you experienced a difficult year, you can demonstrate how you will improve.
  2. Pick the most important highlights. What difference did you make last year?
    Tip: link the highlights to your theme. This way, you keep your company appearance coherent towards your audience.
  3. Create authentic stories. How have your teams experienced the past year?
    Tip: let employees, customers, … tell your stories. Use a personal touch to make experiences more authentic for your audience.

Starting to recognise a classic content journey?

Well… yes, you’re right.

  • The big theme? That would be your central landing page (outlining the campaign theme).
  • The highlights? They would be your cornerstone articles (including key arguments) linking to your landing page.
  • The stories? They refer to the regular updates you publish (linking to your cornerstone articles).

Alright then, a content trajectory . But how do I start?

Your Corp Comms team might want to start on defining the big theme, in collaboration with the Directors. Feel free to call on expert help too. We had a pleasant experience supporting Proximus.

And about the stories? Don’t stick to company silos. There are plenty of stories that HR, Internal Comms or Marketing might have picked up.

Capturing those stories and communicating them through a campaign, will bring your annual report to life.

That campaign can easily last a while. It starts with a big bang (the publication of your annual report) and stays alive by regularly highlighting relevant themes.

In essence: long live your annual report!

Please do take that literally.

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