By Tim Kane
Over the last few years, the Annual Report has undergone a radical metamorphosis.
It’s no longer enough for companies to rely on a printed piece, or even an e-mailable PDF. The growing preference among stakeholders is for an interactive, digital annual report.
As Renee Carter of ReportWatch puts it: “The stats show that annual reports have a huge online audience, which should be capitalized on to attract investors and solidify shareholder confidence.”
With this shift in form has come a complete rethinking of the content of annual reports. Three key trends we’re seeing:
1. More interactive content. Yes, charts and tables will always be a staple of reports. But that data is now being served up in downloadable infographics. Customizable Excel. Interactive timelines. Check out this example from Geberit.
2. More video content. Consider the typical CEO letter. So carefully crafted. So closely vetted. So rarely read. Now imagine the CEO telling you that same story in a video. See how Royal Bank of Canada does it.
3. More responsive design. You might think a data-rich report would be a poor fit with the quick twitch, scroll-swipe-tap mobile world. But that’s exactly where investors search first for information. Home Depot knows this. Look at their report on your desktop. Now look at it on your smartphone.