How to Choose a Format for Your Annual Report

You make annual reports every year. They can be tedious to prepare, but they are essential for many organizations and funds. An annual report represents your company's successes and achievements to various audiences: customers, donors, or shareholders. It affects their perception of your company and influences the decisions they will be making during the next year.To make the most of your annual report, you have to choose the right format for presenting your information. And we are here to help you with that. Let's look at trends in annual reports to find the ones that suit you best.

annual report example

Sustainability Snapshot annual report

 

Printed

Printed versions of annual reports are still of great importance for many businesses. They're a long-time tradition and the stakeholders or donors are accustomed to reading beautifully designed glossy books full of text and images. And there are more engaging alternatives to the big book too:

  • Postcards: Postcards are a quite new format for annual reports, so they deliver the "wow" factor. You can put beautiful photos and infographics on front of a postcard and write a few key points on the back. Don't forget to add a link to your website so that people know where to get more information about your company.
  • Brochures: Brochures are a great opportunity to effectively highlight your key messages, stories, and statistics while ensuring your text is short and precise. You can make them 2–4 pages or poster style.

 

Digital

Many organizations decided to move to digital annual reports when they discovered that their expensive printed reports weren't being read. Online annual reports are less expensive, more flexible, easy to share, and interactive. There are four popular types of digital reports:
  • Mini-sites: Such reports can range from a single-page site filled with texts, bright images, and infographics to fully interactive reports with animations and videos.
Here's how Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science, makes its 2015 interactive annual report and includes texts, images, infographics, and video.
digital report
  • Videos: Videos are a natural for a storytelling format, and the annual report does exactly this: tells an important story about your company. Videos can be engaging, and they still are rather unusual for an annual report format. Make your videos light and attention-grabbing.
  • Infographics: Infographics are also compelling to look at and can have all the essential statistics you need to cover. Take advantage of a great opportunity to enliven this format by including photos.
Look how AkzoNobel, a global paints and performance coatings company, creates original infographics for its annual report.
infographics
  • FlippingBook: Online FlippingBook annual reports look professional and beautiful. They are easy to view on any device and to share by email with all your partners and sponsors.

 

Use more than one format for powerful reach and engagement

Nowadays organizations and funds use two or even more formats for their annual reports. For instance, you can send a postcard with essential report information to all stakeholders and partners, offering them the opportunity to go online to learn more thoroughly about your content on a mini-site or to go and watch the video.If you create a traditional thick printed report, you can consider sending it only to selected key persons. Then make it available in a user-friendly digital publication version for others. You can email it to the people you want to target, and thereby make an emphasis on the value of your report.

Look how Deutsche Börse Group, a worldwide exchange organization, offers various formats of annual reports on its website.
annual report various formats

The most effective tactic here is to customize your report every time you send it, to reach different audiences in a most effective way.

Do you know any examples of impressive annual reports? Share your comments below.

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