Have you ever sat in the waiting room of a client or service provider and noticed their Annual Report sitting on the coffee table in front of you? Bet you weren't even slightly tempted to pick it up for a browse (unless of course you hadn't prepared and done your research on them!)
Why? Because typically these are drab boring documents aimed to serve a legislative or corporate governance mandate not to delight, educate or entertain.
Imagine seeing a document instead that served as a piece of art, a design masterpiece or a magnificent representation and extension of that company's unique brand and essence. Would you be more likely to pick it up and flick through a page or two?
Annual reports are seeing a resurgence amongst a number of savvy brands. Once only the domain of publicly traded companies and non-profits these reports were typically single-color, and had a plain, boring design. I once had a designer tell me that an Annual Report is typically formatted as a “reverse mullet” ie: the “party in the front” via photography and interesting design, with “business in the back” where financial data was displayed. This trend grew well into the 1990s until Microsoft sounded the death knell by having their annuals available online, setting a steep downward trend in printed annual reports’ significance.
In the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a wonderful trend: a resurgence of companies creating both online and print annual reports just for the fun of it. No other obligation than to share their year’s experiences in a bold, daring and totally on-brand way.
And we’re not just talking cutting edge print, paper and design techniques for the sake of being arty farty – we’re talking uniqueness that builds on the company’s point of difference. Check out today's episode of UQTV and you'll see what I mean with two cutting edge reports.
So next time you are planning a company annual report or website or any brochure for that matter don’t just design and print your standard same old same old thing. Really sit back and think about what makes your company unique, what do we stand for and why do we exist, what do we want to be known and remembered for and build it from there. Your impact and strengthening your brands UQ will be worth it in the long run!