There is a growing recognition that reporting communication isn’t just about producing reports, it’s about telling a stories. It’s not just about words and numbers, it’s about making you care. And it’s not just about talking to financial investors, it’s about connecting with all your investors – every employee, every consumer, every stakeholder.
In a complex communications landscape, that’s not easy. That’s why we’ve created three solid, tips to help get more out of your annual report.
- Be Purpose-Led
Purpose has become one of the most popular trends for communications professionals in recent years, but Corporate Reporting experts have long known that purpose is more than just a fad. Purpose is, and always has been, the very reason your company exists.
The current rise in popularity though has been driven largely by millennials, with recent research showing that 74% think a successful business needs to have a genuine purpose. Yet despite the manifest shift in mindset, many businesses have still failed to keep up, and have failed to define what they really stand for.
We can help. By facilitating workshops with senior leaders, we can will identify what your business means, and how to articulate it for your corporate report. What is your North star? What guides you? What have you done this year that doesn’t just make you money, but makes you proud?
- Be Integrated
The ambition: you are one business, with one message, creating one cohesive report. The reality: various uncommunicating teams, pushing their own agendas, in a stilted, siloed list of chapters.
It’s not really surprising, people are busy, and speaking to each other to create an integrated report can seem like yet another complication on a long to-do list. But if you want your report to work, then it needs to work together.
A workshop is your opportunity to build consensus on the point and structure of your reporting communication at senior level. This is will filter through the many content contributors spread throughout the company. Much of an annual report’s unrecognised value is in how the process of pulling it together can encourage people to view their activities holistically. An integrated report can act both as a catalyst for, and test of, a joined-up business.
- Be Authentic
It’s tricky. You want to sell your company and celebrate your achievements, but you don’t want to gloat. In an age where real purpose matters, it’s more important than ever than a report sounds real, relatable, personable.
This means it’s not about a distant CEO regaling a list of financial successes or talking about overarching strategy, it’s about someone real – an employee, a consumer – talking about the culture of the company and the impact of its strategy. It’s about understanding, and communicating, how you are meeting a more complex definition of value: it might not be perfect for all, but is certainly fairer.
We don’t pretend this is easy, but it’s critical – our Authenticity Gap research shows that consumers are nearly four times more likely to believe an employee over a CEO: that’s a pretty significant statistic. So give specific audience ownership of a topic and let them speak on your behalf. The more voices you have, the more balanced your story.
So, that’s it. The big three: purpose, integration, and authenticity. Together, they – and we – can turn your report from industry-standard, to industry-leading.
Our reporting work is award winning, achieving Best Corporate Report at the 2018 PRCA City and Financial Awards following on from wins at the 2017 IR Society Awards , winning Best Annual Report in the FTSE 100 printed category as well as winning at the 2017 Arc Awards and the 2017 Corporate & Financial Awards.
Richard Costa, Reporting Communications
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August 1, 2019