While the annual report is a required and expected publication, it’s also a great opportunity for you to present the good results to your shareholders. In addition to the shareholders, there are many other readers, such as analysts and rating agencies, your employees and customers, or reporters, who will receive your annual report.
As a result, the expectations of internal teams and external users surrounding this publication are very high.
So beautiful and yet so short-lived
The annual report is a relatively short-lived product. Most readers will only look at your report in the few hours after its publication. Afterwards, the document will lie around in a tray on a desk for a few weeks, just in case someone needs to look up a statistic. Finally, it will be filed away with the reports from previous years. We can safely say that the amount of use derived from the carefully designed and printed report is rather limited and that the printed publication’s days are numbered. Nonetheless, companies set aside a significant amount of funding every year for the production of this report.
How much does your annual report cost you?
Many companies spend more than €100,000 on the production of their annual report, according to a 2012 study by media company Theodor Gruda (Meerbusch). Depending on how many copies you need, this amount could be still greater. The distribution of the costs remains roughly the same: You need to budget at least a third of the funds for printing costs and about a quarter for images and image rights or graphics. A little over a fifth of your budget will go towards pre-press costs and about 12% for agency services and layout. About 15% of your budget will be distributed across logistics, paper and other consulting services. Last but not least, you’ll need to allocate budget for research and time spent on preparing data internally.
Therefore you find yourself in the following situation: Every year, you prepare your annual report with which your company presents itself publicly and to its shareholders. You have relatively high costs for this one product that has a pretty short life expectancy and whose value, in printed form, is questionable. So, how can you produce and publish your annual report more efficiently? How can you increase your report’s impact and create more engagement among your readers?
Save money, increase impact and create engagement
Put yourself in the position of the readers of your annual report and you’ll discover exactly what will make or break the success of your report:
How does communication work in this age of mobile internet? How do most people consume their news nowadays? How and where do people read information? Which formats do your readers prefer? It’s also worth thinking about how people share information and how you can reach your readers on a regular basis instead of just once a year.
We have discovered 6 trends that will allow you to modernize your annual report and create a publication with lasting impact.
1. Reach your readers on mobile devices
Consumption primarily occurs in mobile formats: Internet users obtain their information whenever and wherever they want.
Contents must be equally easily readable on all devices.
2. Increase rates of use and engagement among readers
Make your contents more interesting with interactive graphics
Enhance your contents with videos and image galleries. Users regard such assets as added value.
3. Inform your readers on a regular basis.
Add to your annual report throughout the year with updated company information (continuous publishing) – this allows you to remain in touch with your users and retain your readers.
4. Save on costs
Reduce your printing and production costs through digital publication processes.
Save money by using your existing content, such as blog posts, instead of regularly creating new content.
5. Expand your reach
Use the sharing function in social media to reach even more users.
Reach new audiences through modern publication and distribution methods.
6. Get to know your readers
Use online statistics: This will enable you to see which users read which content and when. You can then use the results to draw conclusions for future publications.
Encourage readers to engage directly with the content through polls or feedback opportunities.
By taking these 6 points into account when creating your annual report, you’ll have a solid foundation for producing a publication suited to mobile information consumption.
The simplest and most efficient option that covers all of the requirements of the mobile world is an app. Many companies have already had positive experiences with this technology and are currently benefiting from the advantages that apps have to offer.
The digital world knows no creative bounds
Now for the question: How do you turn your annual report into an app? Our first tip: Do not use your existing company app. That’s the medium you use to sell your products and services or present your brand. Your annual report is worthy of an individual method of communication. If you integrate the report into your existing app, you run the risk that readers will be unable to find it, or that the report will dilute the original function of your company app.
Our second tip: Don’t publish PDFs or Flash files. Those formats do not work well on mobile devices and users will not consume these types of files.Consider the publication of your annual report in app format as a replacement for the report in printed format. That means it’s necessary to invest in the preparation of the content. Once you’ve gathered all the necessary numbers, sit down with your marketing agency or your graphic designer and talk about how best to present them. Designers and agencies will be delighted by your idea of turning the report into an app. Presenting your results in digital format provides you with much more creative freedom.
You can enhance your texts with company videos (such as interviews with the CEO, showreels, etc.), animate diagrams, or present your various business units or branches in image galleries. Use the app to tell your story. Your company’s success can easily be packaged as an app with images and videos.
Easily build an app using graphics
There are several ways to create a great app. We have created a specialized publishing software that makes it easy for anyone to build an app, no programming knowledge required.
Pixel perfect – Manual Production
With this process, you basically start with an empty page and create the layout of the app directly in our publishing suite. You can build all of the elements directly in the software, then enhance your texts and add images or videos. The different functions enable you to add animations or interactive elements to your app.
Print to mobile – Half-automatic Production
This method requires that you already have a layout. You can either use the software to prepare existing PDF files for mobile presentation, or you can use one of the currently available graphic design programs to process your files. With Purple DS® Templating Client and article templates specially designed for your needs, the transformation from print to mobile becomes child’s play!
Continuous publishing – Automatic Production
If you prepare your files in a content management system, for example, to publish them on a public website or your company intranet, you have the option of creating an app via an interface.
No programming knowledge is required to build apps with our software, and this publishing tool does not require a large investment. Publishing reports via an app will enable you to share your information for a tenth of what it previously cost you to produce a printed format.
Poised for Success
By producing your annual report in digital form as an app shows that your company has its finger on the pulse and is up to speed with modern communication methods. Your readers will enjoy exploring the information in your report, thanks to the interactive and animated graphics that have replaced boring tables. Your shareholders, board members and colleagues will thank you for making it possible to read the annual report on mobile devices, the format that today’s users expect. You’ll benefit from enormous savings by going digital with a product that is less useful in hard copy these days.