Manage Your Company Narrative with an Annual Report, ESG or CSR
Your company needs to be involved in all news and information coming from your organization. If you aren’t, others will tell that story without you and it might not include all the facts.
Annually, you have an excellent opportunity to manage the narrative about your company through an annual report, ESG or CSR. These reports allow you to include accurate financial data, valuable market insights, thought leadership, product, or service information, and much more.
Being the one to deliver important news and information about your company is crucial. Even when the news is not particularly flattering or good for your organization, it’s valuable to manage your company’s narrative to avoid misinformation or poorly crafted information.
We’ll explain how you can manage your company narrative and use this annual opportunity to its fullest to engage all stakeholders and set the record straight about who you are and how you’re doing as a company.
Market Segment Insights
As a company serving a segment of a market, you have unique insights. Your annual report can serve as a place to share valuable data and research. While you have to be careful with forward-looking statements in such reports, you do have an opportunity to explain why things happened and what it could mean for the future.
In this area, you don’t have to talk solely about what you do but can take some time to educate about the market as a whole. Explain how you play a role in the market that you serve and the impacts you have. -
Providing Correct Information When Something Needs Clarity
Misinformation can spread quickly but misinformation isn’t the only threat to your reputation. Incomplete information where the news only tells one part of the story is also dangerous to your reputation.
Setting the records straight is an important part of managing your company’s narrative. Tell your story from your point of view on the topic to reposition the information or add further details. While it might sound like nuance, clarifying statements and adding your voice to the conversation can work wonders for protecting your reputation.
Be transparent throughout your report. Transparency is one of the largest motivating factors. The more transparent you are, the more trust you’ll build with your audiences, which can have a huge impact on building your brand.
Highlight Sustainability Efforts
Your annual report, ESG or CSR is the perfect place to highlight your sustainability efforts or commitments. You can do so using attractive infographics showcasing statistics from the last year and the impact that had on your community.
If you’ve committed to more sustainable packaging, planting trees to say thanks for a referral, or allowing for more remote work to decrease your company’s carbon footprint, now is the time to round up information about these initiatives.
Becoming a sustainable brand is an important way to connect with your customers. Most customers will care more about this information than they will about your financials.
Showcase Your Stakeholders in Images and Design
As you work to manage your company’s narrative, don’t just think about what your words are saying. Consider what your visuals and images are saying too.
Make sure that you are supporting your story with the right imagery. And if you’re highlighting your commitment to accessibility, make your report accessible so that everyone can learn from its content.
Ensure that your visual language supports your message. This means selecting a font, style, graphics, icons and infographics that match the tone of your report. For example, if you want to showcase how caring your company is, do less with icons and showcase more imagery with people.
Or, if you’re highlighting your company numbers, build out a numbers book. These reports feature large numbers and graphs as the graphics to help set the tone for the report. No matter what you’re conveying in your report, the design should support the narrative.
As you consider whether your imagery is telling your company story well, consider new markets you’ve joined or new customers you’ve worked to attract recently. Make sure that these individuals are also present in your marketing efforts.
Make it Personal with Videos and Interactive Content
Managing your narrative requires a human and interactive element to your plan. And in today’s digital age, your stakeholders will expect these interactive tools.
Some ways to make your report more interactive include:
· Videos from your leadership team explaining key information
· A micro-website for ease of viewing the information online
· Offering a simpler version of your printed report that is less focused on financials and more targeted toward telling your story
· Sending a printed version of your full report to top stakeholders
At Design Positive, we help brands make new friends by telling their story effectively in annual reports, ESGs and CSRs, while doing it all in an access-to-all approach.