Why Call It an Annual Report?

Posted on Nov 30, 12 in Blog Consumer Financial Utilities

Each year about this time we start to gear up for an onslaught of annual report projects. The prep starts now and by mid February when client financial statements are complete, we are fully engaged.

I’ve always thought that the annual report was one of the most important documents of any business. It is the scorecard for last year’s efforts. The equivalent of the post-game film. When combined with insight, it delivers clarity of understanding and helps drive future direction. Heck, even if you aren’t required you should produce one.

“Nobody reads the annual report. “

We often hear that from clients. And since some marketers might believe that there are precious few that actually read it, the energy and enthusiasm that could go into the creation and orchestration of the annual report information can suffer.

It can feel as though the annual report is something to get checked off the “to do” list. Something to get beyond. Reports by definition are finite and specific. A report implies a one-time use. Get it done. Move on to something else.

I believe the Annual Report should be renamed the Annual Story.

Thinking about your annual report as a story means looking beyond the basic creation of the report itself. Beyond the charts and graphs and spreadsheets.

See, a report implies a one-time use. But a story… well we know that a story is meant to be told again and again.

With the improving economy comes the improving story of your business. A renewed enthusiasm. And a clearer vision. It’s a story that should be told in more ways than one.

Of course the simple printed report is the foundation. Upon that are the additional tools that help to share the information in multiple venues, in various formats throughout all publics. Online and offline. Social Media and more. With employees, constituencies and partners.

Don’t box your annual report in. This year use it as both a report card to the past and a looking glass into the future. Give readers a chance to learn about your brand and business. Consider it as the first in a series of best sellers.

That’s what we’re suggesting to clients. Call it whatever you like, just remember to think of it as your story.