As year end approaches, IRMatters caught up with Matt White, who heads IRM’s graphic design team, for some tips on how to take the pain out of annual report planning.
Matthew White (you can call him, Matt) is the Art Director at IRM. He’s been with IRM since 2012, and is a veteran in the corporate communications design area.
Matt’s team spends most of its time working with clients on print collateral and online versions of printed corporate resources. Annual reports, annual reviews, prospectuses, fact sheets, investor presentations, corporate collateral and a range of other print assets are produced through Matt’s art department – you’ve probably come across some of them in the market!
We took a few minutes to catch up with Matt to seek some tips on the importance of a well-designed and well-structured annual report. Later we’ll explore more key considerations with annual report creation.
Q: How important is a company’s annual report?
A: While an annual report is a compliance document, it can also be a critical marketing tool. Properly structured, written and designed, an annual report can allow a company to:
- Highlight the contribution and the impact of achievements on all people involved in delivering objectives across the period – both internal people and those external to organisations, like contractors and partners
- Reassure existing investors and attract new ones
- Provide an attractive, point-in-time marketing piece, which can be used for a period after it is published to communicate the company’s achievements and articulate milestones of interest to investors.
- An annual report can be used as a significant summary of what you do.
Q: What is the most important consideration before companies embark upon the annual report creation process?
Planning is key to a successful outcome, properly managed costs, and to defining appropriate success metrics for the annual report. During the planning process, consider these points:
- Set your timeframe early and make each milestone count
- Prepare a list of inclusions based on the previous year’s report
- If there is existing text you can reutilise, choose it early to make your job easier and ensure consistency in messaging
- Work up a list of outcomes and nominate a staff member to obtain related images for possible inclusion within the annual report. If you don’t have photos on file, work with a photographer early to have some taken, which can also be used across your other collateral
- Make sure images selected are at least 300dpi for print reproduction.
Q: Are online versions of annual reports important these days?
A: While there is certainly still a client base for the printed annual report, the online or electronic annual report is now used more frequently. When putting together an online annual report:
- Ensure you provide an easy-to-navigate, accessible HTML annual report that is easy to read.
- Annual reports are scanned quickly – often less than a few minutes at a time – so make sure your report has impact and relevance and can be viewed across a number of platforms such as tablets and mobile devices.
If you’re planning for a June 30 year end, get started today.
Whether you choose to print or to showcase your achievements online, start planning your next annual report today to get the most from what is an important piece of marketing collateral.
View examples of annual reports that our team has recently designed and produced. To see more of what we can do, please contact Matt White on +61 2 8705 5444 - or request a no obligation quotation, using our online quotation form.