An annual report is a financial document that a public company prepares for its shareholders. However, annual reports have the potential to be more than just a financial statement. It can be a huge marketing opportunity to show an organization’s identity and brand and make an emotional connection with your target audience.
Below we will share a few tips for leveraging your annual report as a marketing tool and some great examples of annual reports that went way beyond just a financial statement.
The contents in an annual report may vary by industry, but usually contain the following:
- Chairman’s letter
- Business Profile
- Management’s analysis
- Financial statements
More and more companies are turing their annual (bore) report into a marketing tool to showcase their company’s business victories, culture, and vision. Check out how two companies have accomplished this in the examples below.
Creative Annual Reports
Here are two examples of creative and unique annual reports that got people talking and ended up as a marketing tool for the company:
Warby Parker is a hip eyeglass company offering prescription and eyeglasses and sunglasses starting at just $95. For every pair sold, a pair is donated to someone in need. Another thing they are known for making cool – the traditionally boring annual report. For example, their 2013 interactive annual report was a 365 day calendar format featuring company milestones and numbers. Every day features a peek into not only the company’s success, but also its culture. For example, how many employees prefer v-necks to crew necks, or that 20% of employees are devoted Dr. Who fans.
Neil Blumenthal explained their unique approach to AdAge:
“It very much fit into our philosophy of being transparent. We find the more information we share, the more vulnerable we are, and that sharing the positive and the warts — the deeper relationship we build with our customers. The first time we thought it would just be fun for our most engaged, most loyal customers, but it ended up leading to our three biggest sales days at the time.”
The Results: According to Blumenthal, the report was a success and brought the company its highest traffic day to date and most glasses orders.
“We were just blown away by the response,” Blumenthal told Fast Company. “We thought some people would find it interesting, but it was retweeted 2,000 times and led to our three highest consecutive day of sales,” he said, noting sales figures topped those following either of the company’s two major media appearances to that point—the CBS Sunday Morning show and the New York Times.
MailChimp is an email marketing service used by more than 7 million people and businesses worldwide. Their 2013 annual report features an impressive numbered list of accomplishments and data throughout the year from 0 to 70,000,000,000 highlighting company achievements and milestones, but also some humorous looks into their company culture.
0 – softball wins
70,000,000,000 – emails sent
Check it out for yourself here: MailChimp 2013 Annual Report.