The annual report is so much more than compliance. It’s the indisputable display of a company’s accountability, the communication of an authentic company culture and the marketing of a company’s brand awareness.
People want to know that the businesses they support are run in a way they can trust and relate to. When your annual report tells more than just compliance-based facts and numbers, what becomes visible is the accountability of your year’s actions, and how they effectively had a hand in company production and culture throughout the year. In the end, this transparent accountability elicits the trust in your company that stakeholders and consumers are looking for.
The Southwest One Report combined citizenship, sustainability and financial compliance into an interactive document in order to achieve transparency in every aspect of their business.
In this Web-based world where information comes with the push of a button, people want to know “why and how you do what you do” in the day to day. Articulating the meaningful values of your company through the annual report will help you connect with people on a level beyond the business transaction to create more enlightened relationships. When authentic, your annual report showcases the way you do business throughout the year, exhibiting a seldom-seen example of your company culture.
Well Point’s 2013 Annual Report dedicated an entire section to the inner workings of their business, explaining the “who,” “why” and “how” of their daily operations, instead of just the “what.”
Everything you do in the back end of your business is important and worth exhibiting. The annual report has the ability to turn the otherwise – mundane transactions of your business into engaging, marketable content, because of its innate ability to exhibit your company’s entire brand authentically. If done right, the annual report can become a distinctive marketing piece that will strengthen your engagement with stakeholders and consumers throughout the year.
Aspen Insurance Holdings’ 2013 report leveraged the culture and values behind their business in order to create a book that, in the end, showcased an aspect of their company brand.
At its core, the strategy of annual reporting is not just about compliance and visibility for stakeholders. It is about telling the world who you are and what you stand for. When authentic, this approach creates a return on your marketing investment and keeps people coming back for more.