38 – Annual Reports

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Welcome to the Rediscover your Brand Podcast! I’M your host Mike McCormick. Last week we took a stroll down content strategy lane, during that podcast I spoke about how the ideas of content strategy and how it can be connected to pretty much all of my other pod casts, and it is such a huge topic it will not be last time you hear about it. Now with content strategy still fresh in your mind I wanted to cover a topic that presents the ideas I said last week and the previous weeks but from a different angle. You probably have noticed that over the a past couple weeks our main focus has been about the internet, along with content, and how you can utilize these tools for your benefit, well I wanted to say these topics are extremely important but since the year is winding down, I wanted to cover a topic that is appropriate for this time of the year. For today’s show we are going to discuss annual reports. Now I know that for many of you listening, the idea of annual reports is something that you do not want to hear just yet but to have a well established and extraordinarily designed report, this is the time you need to start thinking about it. Today we are going to discuss a lot of different aspects pertaining to Annual Reports and we are basically going to cover what annual reports are, why we should utilize them and a bunch of different CONTENT STRATEGIES that will your report be better than the best that is out there.

Now I may move fast because there are a lot of aspects we are going to be covering today, so let’s start out by giving a brief overview and explanation of Annual Reports.  To start I want to say that annual reports are an extraordinary way to connect with your stockholder and investors as well as give them an inside look in to how your organization is running. Well these reports are simply away to report all your financial information that you have collaborated throughout the year and a way to compare it this year to past years and to predict your future financial status.

Why! We all want to know why we should present annual reports to stockholders, investors, and futures stockholders/investors. It is simple we all invest in different things because we see potential gain from them or it is something that we truly believe which is awesome but at times many of us are truly unaware of what is actually going on and sometimes we also forget the reason why we invest in something and annual reports do just that. Annual reports bring investors and stockholders up to date as well as give an actual inside looks to see how an organization is performing. Annual reports give stockholders and investors a reason to stay with your organization, now we all know that sometimes we may have a rough year and putting out a report sounds discouraging, which is sometimes right but on the other hand you can use these reports to your advantage and build up a solid structure on what went wrong and how you are going to not only repair the miss haps, but also strive to the future. This will help recognize that you are not giving up and you have a solid plan to get back on top. There are so many reason I could talk about on how you can benefit from annual reports but frankly that would take up to much time, now on the other hand there really is not a reason why should not put some kind of annual report.

Alright now it is time to talk about the content strategies annual reports, I know this is what everyone has been waiting for and it is going to be exciting. To start I want to talk about balancing your content on your annual reports. When comes to balancing your content, your audiences does not want a bunch of pages with straight text followed by another group of pages will just numbers. Integrate your text and number content together so it is easy for the reader to understand exactly what they are looking at in terms of numbers.  But also balance out how you design and create each page to keep the readers experience a more enjoyable and interactive.

Now I would like to talk about explaining the concepts behind your products, your business, pretty much your livelihood within the reports. Everything your company does it great, but remember these reports do not always have to be about numbers , you are giving stockholders and investors an inside look into your organization so why give them a brief glance at how things are done, what goes on during all stages of creating your products, what makes your product so strong. Showing your audience these factors will help bring them in more, wanting more and help bring others into your organization. To add on to this an important thing to note is to not be afraid to get personal. And when I say do not be afraid to get person, I am not just saying a letter from the CEO or President because those are a give every annual report should at least have something from the CEO or president in it. What I am talking about when I say do not be afraid to get personal is to go interview your employees the ones who work hard every day to keep your brand alive, the ones who are pushing to assemble parts for your products, talk to these employees, interview them and release their stories to the public, take significant quotes and put them in sections of the report that reflects off of their attributions to the company its self.  Now you may be wondering why I am telling to put these employees’ stories’ and quotes into your reports and it is because it establishes an emotional appeal for your audience. It is always more than exceptional to display numbers and explanations along with detail time lines of how your company does business and those are things that are important but to create a real connection with your stockholders and investors throughout these reports you should add an emotional appeal to create that emotional connect with your organization.

Now let’s talk about your envelope and packaging design. First I just would like to clarify that print materials are still appropriate to use when establishing your annual report. Even though many organizations are strictly using digital reports, it is appropriate to provide both for your target audience.  Since we have established that both print and digital materials are both appropriate to use when pushing your annual reports, let’s start talking about the envelope and packaging design that goes into your annual reports. Now you might think that the design of the packaging that my report comes in is not really important and I should probably just use a plan package because the most important stuff is on the side, well this is not always the case. Your package design is one of the most important elements of your annual report because it is the first thing your audience will see before jumping into the report, so you will want a design that grasps your audience in wanting to report your report as well as reflects your organization’s brand and style that the report is designed in.

Annual Reports can be fun and exciting so why not go out and produce a product that will is more than just numbers on a piece of a paper.

Well that is it for Episode 38 of the Rediscover Your Brand Podcast, I’m you Host Mike McCormick and this has been brought to you by Artversion Interactive Agency! You may contact us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Artversion, on Twitter at Twitter.com/Artversion, or at Artversion.com. Thanks For Listening!