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Publicly listed corporations and NFPs spend a lot of time pulling together the content for their annual reports. Although required to present the financial position of the organisation, the annual report provides a great opportunity to highlight the business’ goals and objectives for future years, demonstrate the key achievements of the previous year and share your company’s most memorable moments in an engaging visual way. The annual report informs and should engage key stakeholders, influencers and internal teams.

Reflect on annual reports you receive. How effective was the report at holding your interest. Did you open the document? Did you read it? Was the information clear?

Company reporting as a marketing tool

Many businesses don’t recognise the hidden value this annual communication holds. Given that the piece is shared with a wide base it is a unique opportunity to stand out from amongst the crowd, highlight your competitive advantages and achievements, and at the same time, impress and engage with stakeholders and shareholders. Finally, when done right, you can communicate bite-sized pieces of good news, future goals and performance stats that readers will remember and can spread wider via word of mouth.

Who are your stakeholders?

The reach of your annual report should extend beyond investors and include your customers. These two groups of stakeholders may have interests in different pieces of information. It’s important that the copy and data presented in your reports reflect this. The inclusion of annual reports on your website enables maximum reach without incurring more print production costs.

People don’t read anymore

One thing that we have identified is people aren’t reading the same way they used to. With so many daily pressures, many of us are on limited time. Taking a creative approach to how information is presented transforms a straightforward annual report into one that is more engaging and accessible – one that your stakeholders will want to read.

To impress and be memorable, it’s time to rethink how you present information in your annual reports.

Get graphical

This is true for both designed images and actual graphs presenting data. Although annual reports contain a large amount of financial data there is an opportunity to present this well. A clear layout of content, with section headings and the use of colourful imagery and graphics supports your brand and the message. It facilitates a clear business direction and vision.

Think about your print

Let’s face it – generic printed pages with regular typeface and lots of text will rarely get read. Think instead about creating something memorable and engaging. Using high quality images and finishes is a tactile reminder to your stakeholder that they are valued and the information itself is valuable.

See also: Is print marketing the new brand mouthpiece?


An excellent way to make content much more engaging, simplify complex facts and figures, and make heavy or dry information instantly more compelling to the reader. Infographics are an effective means to explain information and convey meaning.

See also: The power of infographics

Write copy in the right brand tone

Annual ‘reports’ don’t have to be boring. And while there are pieces of technical and financial information to be presented, don’t forget that you are communicating to your most important audience. There are ways to remain professional while sounding warm, competent and approachable. Format and effective headings also play an important role.

Make your best impression! Talk to the team at MIH around how we can make your next annual report something stakeholders will want to read and engage with.