November 23, 2015
Create a Lasting Impression – Communicate Your Year in Growth with Online Reports
With annual reporting season fast approaching, we wanted to share some recent insights we have gained in working with our clients over the last year. Recently, we’ve shared a number of blog posts outlining NIRI’s recent 2015 Annual Report Survey and what 2015’s class of IROs think are best practices for annual reports.
As we mentioned in our initial post on the Annual Report Survey, 21% of public companies are now producing an interactive, HTML based version of their annual report for investors. Below, we outline why we think that number is growing and the benefits of providing investors with an interactive online report.
Optimize reporting for your digital audience
Investors have more choices than ever before on how to access and read a company’s financial reporting. This means IROs need to diversify the way in which they communicate.
The number of traditional investors that still want a printed version of an annual report mailed to them is still a large part of any company’s investment community. Our suggestion would never be to ignore this audience’s preference, forcing a new format on them that they’re not interested in adopting. Rather, consider that now is the time to look into more than one style of communication – ensuring that your diverse audience has access to information the way that they want it.
A large number of investors are reading annual reports exclusively online. These investors are used to other aspects of online life, where content is dynamic and augmented with rich images and additional media. Forcing this audience to engage exclusively with a static PDF document is a mistake. Instead, focus on expanding your content channels and getting these investors the information they are looking for. Take the content you’ve already produced for your printed version and update it with images, animations and video to properly engage with your audience on the digital spectrum. By providing both, you’re ensuring that all members of your audience are accessing the report in the format that best meets their needs.
Tell your corporate story
Annual reporting season is when you get your investors’ undivided attention. They’re looking over your communications with a fine-tooth comb, looking to see if you’ve made good on your promises from the previous year and what the company’s trajectory looks like going forward. Taking this into account, annual reports are the perfect opportunity to present powerful brand messaging as well as to communicate key information from the year to outline future growth.
Our last post covered infographics, but it’s worth mentioning again the impact that dynamic charts, images and graphics can have in communicating key business metrics. Annual reports have to cover a lot of ground – and some of your most powerful metrics can get lost in a densely packed PDF. Using the capabilities of the web, you can use high resolution images and animations to highlight growth and communicate the impact of those numbers to investors.
Also, what the online component offers is a chance to integrate your brand into the reporting. With standard PDF and print documents, at most, companies are able to feature a branded cover image. With online reports, you are able to incorporate brand colours, fonts and styles in the report experience. You can include high resolution images from your marketing and communications efforts from the year as well as images from inside the business, capturing the employees and team members that made the year the success that it was. This additional branding allows for the opportunity to turn an annual report into a true year in review, highlighting not only your financials and corporate growth but also how your company identified itself as a brand.
Same experience, no matter what device.
This goes hand-in-hand with our first point about diverse investor audiences. Investors are on the move and are using multiple devices to access and engage with your annual report.
With an online version of your annual report, you’re able to ensure that your content is optimized for viewing across all devices. Someone reading a PDF version of the report is potentially going to have a difficult time, having to pinch, zoom or horizontally scroll through the page to read the document.
Annual reporting season is a time when you have investors’ attention. Not providing them with optimal means to access your content means you risk losing them to outside sources and losing control of your messaging during a crucial time of the year.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post about the new and upgraded Q4 Online Reports – highlighting features that will seamlessly allow you to integrate visually-appealing content and data to your next annual report. Q4 Online Reports will allow you to converse more simply with your audience as they integrate responsive design, infographics and charts, easy storytelling, smooth navigation, flexible templates, and more.
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