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What Makes a Good Annual Report?

November 2020Nikita Murray

With the end of the year fast approaching, now is a good time to start thinking about producing your annual report. This is a bold statement about who you are as a business, so before you reach for the spreadsheets and start gathering data, it’s time to think about the story that you want to tell.

Here we share our top tips around what makes a good annual report.

Your Brand in Action

What is your brand story? What do you want to say?

It’s important to remember that your brand is more than just a logo and your annual report is a great opportunity to reflect your brand’s strength. Whether you are communicating with stakeholders or the wider public, it’s important to think about the story that you want to tell – what are they interested in and what would they like to know? These questions can unlock the key information to structure your report around.

Consistency is Key

Proof, proof and proof! With annual reports covering all business areas, the content can often be written by different members of the team. It’s important to ensure that there is a consistent tone of voice across the document, ensuring a strong brand identity throughout. A great way to do this is to assign one person to have the final say across the whole report, which ensures that the tone of voice and stylings are consistent throughout.

Results

Your annual report is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your business; it’s time to shout about all of your main accomplishments over the last year. So whether you’re looking to raise awareness of your services or products for your customers or keep your stakeholders happy by reaching your goals – now’s not the time to be shy.

Prove it

Talk is cheap. You’ve gathered your results, now is the time to prove it! From case studies to impressive statistics on accomplishments, you need to highlight your work in action and showcase your work over the past 12 months.

Looking Forward

Make sure to save space to tell your audience what’s new and what to expect from the coming year…

An often-overlooked element of the annual report is about looking forward and shouting about what’s to come in the next year to keep your stakeholders engaged, invested and excited about your business. Your aims and objectives should align closely to your defined business strategy, so it’s important to communicate how you’re going to get there and deliver results time and time again.

Step Away from Microsoft Word…

So you’ve done the hard work. You’ve gathered all of your information, worked your way through your results and have some pretty impressive statistics to shout about. Don’t let the hard work go to waste by piling all of the information into a doorstop worthy, copy heavy report.

It’s time to step away from Microsoft Word and ask yourself, “does this report look engaging?”

Time is money. Get creative, break up heavy text with eye-catching infographics and easy to understand graphs, along with summary sections for those pushed for time. The results can be really impressive! It doesn’t stop there, you can also repurpose your content and create some eye-catching social graphics to emphasise your key achievements.

Here are some examples from our work with Edge Hill University as we overhauled their corporate annual report into more digestible, eye-catching content.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our Edge Hill University case study, including our work on their 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 annual report. 

Contact the FIG team today on 01457 857111 or email [email protected] to see how we can transform your annual report.

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