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With Annual Report season approaching, many companies will be starting the process of planning content for one of the most important communications pieces of the year. And we think this year there’s a good chance that they’ll be pulling out all the stops.
A good Annual Report contains information that’s relevant to every stem of a firm’s target audience. Whether a shareholder wants to check the progress of their investment, or a consumer wants to know more about ethical standards, more often than not it will be the Annual Report that they turn to for information.
Historically though, it seems that the importance of the report and the work required to ensure it is effective, have been overlooked by businesses the world over. With so many messages flying around, the report can easily become a tangled web of words that requires rigorous disentanglement on the reader’s part. But in an era of communications convenience, it’s of paramount importance that organisations put those days well behind them.
In recent years reporting has started to show signs of improvement but, for the majority of firms, there is still a long way to go.
Black Sun recently reported on the fact that many leaders have lost passion for the art of storytelling, which subsequently results in a somewhat lacklustre approach to reporting. This is because essentially, the Annual Report is a story, telling stakeholders the tale of the previous year, explaining the motives behind company activities and reviewing the results.
In Black Sun’s words, stakeholders want to read a “story they can believe in”, and that requires coherence, focus and ultimately, clarity.