Now, as we entered the New Year and started to work on the to-do list for the next 365 days, haven't you forgotten to create the annual report? This is a mandatory piece of content for every business. It is one of the most powerful tools to reveal the results that a company has attained during the year, set new goals, and establish a better connection with the clients/partners. Although it may seem to be difficult to assemble, it's of predominance importance to create an appealing annual report design that will engage the audience and deliver your message efficiently.
What's the first thing that comes to your mind as I mention "annual report"? I bet you have just imagined stats, charts, and long lists of numbers that reveal the most significant company milestones. Well, that's right. However, creating dozens of slides featuring financial results you face the risk to miss the great opportunity to bolster your brand.
The time for the grand changes has come!
Make your annual report stick to the viewers' mind. Keep reading further and follow the guidelines.
15 Tips to Write Company Annual Report
There are so many ways to write company annual reports. You can use the power of words combined with the visual presentations. You can make use of data, human stories, design elements, various content formats, etc. Just take a look at the examples revealing company annual report tips that work.
#1 Annual Report Formats
The annual report can be presented in the forms of interactive infographics, videos, powerpoint presentations with the captivating data visualizations, etc.
The Clear Media annual report 2014 won the Red Dot Design Award for communication design. Presented in the form of the colorful book topped off with an acrylic film on the cover, it allows the readers to see how the layers interact with one another as the readers turn the pages one-by-one. The entire report represents a beautiful demonstration of the visions and values of the company.
Source: Red Dot Award Communication Design
#2 Year in Review. Tell Your story
Investors need to compare the current stats with the historical data in order to make the right decision. The best way to do this is through the use of performance indicators. On seeing the year-on-year indicators, the investors can see how your business develops and the way it performs against the strategy.
In the Annual Report PowerPoint presentation templates, you can find several ready-made slides that present the most significant corporate events. The company annual report is a fundraising vehicle, which suggests that you will spend some time on the copywriting and graphic design. As you recount the rises and falls of the past year, also use subtle facts. facts, stories, and reports that are structured in an easy-to-follow way.
#3 Financial Overview. Turn Numbers into Graphics
The company annual report cannot go without numbers and financial stats. The truth is your readers want to get the hard facts quickly, in the easy-to-digest ways. So, presenting stats by means of graphic and charts that offer colorful and simplified visuals is always a good idea.
You can opt for the vibrant or more concise color options. If you want to present your annual business report in the professional style, then take a look at the Annual Report Template. It used flat colors in order to guide the users through the financial starts effortlessly.
Revealing the company awards is an indispensable part of the annual report. Investors need to know about your accomplishments. Are there any rewards or acknowledgments that your company received during the past year? Never miss a chance to include those in the annual report.
#5 What’s Next? Reveal Action Plan
Although the annual report is intended to reveal the results of the past year, it should also introduce the investors and the public to the plans and objectives.
Give the investors and shareholders the vision of the future presenting them to your business’s prospects. Like in the image, you can achieve this by means of tables and charts.
#6 CEO Message
Quoting your company CEO, you will add a more reputable presentation to your annual report. How does he/she feel about the results of the year? What the emotions and memories of the past year? What is the CEO’s personal attitude to the current trends and changes in the market? All this will sound more significantly if you speak on behalf of the CEO.
Like in the example, it’s a great idea to include the image and the official signature in the copy.
#7 Data Visualizations
You can expand the narrative by means of the visuals that are easy to comprehend. You can also draw comparisons in the story or provide insights from the previous years.
The Sonae 2012 Management Report focused on the brand's corporate graphic mantras - circles of different shapes and colors. The dynamic report represented interlocking gears and cogs, thus communicating what that the retail is all about the revealing the mechanics of emotions.
Source: Sonae 2012 Management Report
#8 Introduce the Team
Whenever you mention a customer success story in the annual report or talk about the most impressive initiatives of your colleagues, including their photos will grow the viewers' emotional response greatly.
Annual reports include the board of directors and reveal the ways how they are rewarded. Investors should also know who is managing the business day after day. That is why your report should present key members of the management team and what they are responsible for. It shows the depth and quality of your organization.
The slides of the Business Plan with 3D Infographics PowerPoint Template reveal how to present team members in the personalized, visually appealing manner.
#9 Design elements
The design is an indispensable part of every story, whether it's a print or digital media. It can visualize and reflect what the company does, making it easier to understand the message even for the first-time visitors.
The apparel company Krochet Kids intl used thread art as a visual storytelling tool.
Source: Krochet Kids intl
#10 Visualize Numbers
The human brains perceive visuals better than words. So, any piece of content that represents a combination of texts and visuals is easier to comprehend and recall. Additionally, images create the visual hierarchy, which makes the comprehension of the annual report more efficient.
Source: L’Oréal Annual Report 2016
#11 Be Creative
Never miss a chance to impress the audience, like Flywheel did in 2015. Back then their annual report came with a free temporary tattoo showing a battle axe, rocket ship, T-shirt, hot dog, Diet Mountain Dew can, and the Flywheel logo. 2015 was an epic year for the WordPress hosting company. That was the time when one of the company's co-founders permanently tattooed the company's logo on the forearm. This was a push for the company to create a set of the temporary tattoos reflecting 6 basic things that happened in 2015.
Source: Flywheel 2015 Year in Review
#12 Don’t Be Afraid to Use Whitespace
It’s difficult to differentiate the focal point when there is too much content on the page. Using whitespace, you can add the visual roadway to the web page, cutting down the clutter and drawing the users’ attention to the essentials. When you work on the company annual report, do not limit the size of its pages. Let every slide breathe like in the example.
#13 Set CTAs
The main purpose of the annual report is to tell the story of the past year and present your organization clearly. Although making people take actions is not the goal of the annual report, sharing the results of the past year is a great chance to make the audience involved. For example, when you highlight the plans and goals for the next year, you can include information about the upcoming events and invite people to join.
#14 Keep Readability in Mind
You company annual report is likely to contain plenty of data, visuals, stats, diagrams, etc. This may seem to be overwhelming even for those people who are willing to read your report from the beginning to the end. That’s why, when you finish writing and editing your annual report, it’s a rule of thumb to cut the copy by 25% minimum. This will help you keep the focal points in the text, thus keeping the reader's’ attention focused on the essentials.
#15 Use the Power of Storytelling
The annual report of a company is not just a list of numbers. As the name implies, the report should be a comprehensive means of communication between the reporter and the audience. People should feel enthusiastic about listening/reading through the entire piece of content to the end. This is when the art of storytelling will come in handy.
The annual report is absolutely different from content marketing. The latter is more about the products of services that a company produces rather than about the company itself. The annual report is all about your brand. This means that a person who has reached it is interested in your company and its life. So, you get a great chance to engage them even more.
Although the annual report isn't a traditional story, you still can create an engaging narrative that will make many people feel and understand many things.
By means of storytelling, you can make the audience feel:
- Confident in your brand. A story that is backed by the real-life results sounds more trustworthy and reliable.
- Educated. The piece of content that is presented in the easy-to-follow and quick-to-synthesize manner is better understood by the addressee, which frees him from the necessity to read the entire site.
- Connected. While presenting the annual report by means of a story, you keep the community emotionally connected. A narrative helps you humanize the brand and its work.
Business Presentation Design Inspiration
That's all for today. I hope you found the annual report tips and examples useful. If you are looking for more inspiration on how to create a compelling report or business presentation, then the collection of PowerPoint templates will be just useful.
As you can see, even the most complex and data-heavy annual report can be presented in the interactive and engaging style. Simply select the right approach and make the content more humanized. The ready-made annual report templates will help you express your company achievements and goals more efficiently.