19 Jan 3 Visual Tips to Give that Boring Annual Report Some Pop
Here we are, a new year but likely the same old tried and true annual report. Let me guess, a letter from the CEO, message from the board chair and some market insights from the treasurer. Sandwiched in somewhere is a highlight of community service and charitable giving. Don’t get me wrong, many annual report structures are required to meet public reporting regulations and these sections are necessary.
But what is the real purpose of an annual report and who are you drafting it for? Boiled down, it’s a report on the company’s financial standing and activities from the year intended to inform shareholders. Look at most annual reports and ask yourself “is this something I’d want to read?” (This is especially challenging for member-owned organizations like credit unions)
So, how can you make this year’s annual report engage and inform more? We have a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Make those financials or community service text-heavy paragraphs come alive with visually compelling content. And, while infographics have had more of the spotlight recently with digital media, they’ve been used for years. National Geographic even has a book to share their use of infographics over the past several decades.
As for annual reports, an infographic can truly complement your content and help call attention to key points. It’s all about showing. Show a timeline of the year. Show growth from the last report. Show key milestones of success from the year.
Here’s an example:
Infographics can really pull your report together and they’re not so hard to make that you should avoid them. They are also easily shared online as content marketing tools to share your story to a wider audience.
Another great tool for sharing information visually is to create a series of graphics that pull together annual report key points into bite-size pieces. While an infographic weaves a larger story through imagery and text, individual graphics can get more detailed and provide more context. By taking the graphics and building a slide show, you give your audience a visual break from the normal text-laden content. The graphics can be tied together or shared individually to share your year’s successes beyond the usual audience.
This may not be a new idea either…
One more way to shake things up is to put that report to the “silver screen” errr monitor. You can make that message from the president a video, embed it on the digital version of the report and share it on YouTube/Vimeo/Facebook. Video is a huge content driver and what better way to get your story out there than to have it hop off the page and onto video? For those a bit more ambitious, a full video annual report is also possible. It could range from a series of interviews to a more data-driven presentation. Both would require visual support from graphics (see, they’re useful!), photos and stock video to help move the video. If you go this route, I highly recommend keeping it short (about two minutes) to keep your audience’s time and attention in mind.
Here are a couple examples of video annual reports:
All these ideas can work together or individually depending on how much you want to attempt in changing up the look of your annual report. The key piece is that all of these options give you more opportunities to connect and engage with your audience PLUS you can share these visual gems on social media to reach a bigger audience.
Now that I’ve (hopefully) excited you about spicing up that annual report, I need to ground this all with a reminder that the content of the report is critical. No matter how you add visual pop to your annual report, don’t forget to provide the full context and detail to support the graphics or video.
Pssst, we can help 😉