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How to maximise engagement with your Annual Reports

They say that diamonds might be a girl’s best friend; and if that’s true, graphics are equally an annual report’s best friend. As a collective, we seem to get this; yet on an individual level, not so much.

Pretty much everyone knows that breaking up your text with nice, atractive images will make a document more palatable. This is not the only way to include graphics however. Charts, tables, visuals, and mockups, are all different ways that you can represent information without a mountain of words.

Now, some sections of reports are conveyed most effectively as just text (And related images) and that’s okay. But in other areas, such as when you’re referring to figures, graphics can really make your annual report shine.

So today, we’re going to be talking about the value, and reasons, why you should be maximising the use of graphics in your report, presentation, or any other document about data representation.

Graphics boost your data retention rate

Think back to the last time you had to read something business related; like an annual report. Chances are that the language was dry, fact based, and to the point, but also not particularly engaging. This, is where graphics come into play.

An article from the Scientific American notes that:

“Visual scenes with busy, crisscrossing lines grab and keep our attention by engaging stimulus-driven orienting networks—those line neurons fire fast enough to collect their slice of consciousness. Bright, bold, or contrasting colours do the same.”

If a picture tells a thousand words, then graphs and tables must tell at least 10X that.

The article references this in art and photography, however the principal no less applies to graphics and text; Your brain becomes far more excited and fires far more neurons, when it’s looking at a (well designed) graph or pie chart, than at textual data that conveys the same message.

Additionally, not only do humans absorb information faster with corresponding graphics, but the visuals themselves have been found to improve learning and retention by 400%. This is because while we may forget what we’ve read, we’re more likely to remember what we’ve seen.

On top of this, images have the ability to (almost) instantaneously trigger an emotional response. This means that if you play your cards right by using colours effectively, you’ll be able to add layers to your report’s narrative that are otherwise impossible to achieve with plain text.

Visuals to keep your brand on point

If you look at the annual reports from Australia’s top companies; Woolworths, Qantas, etc. they all have one thing in common: Effective, appropriate visuals to compliment and reinforce the core message. Every piece of corporate documentation that you put out becomes part of your branding. Therefore, it’s critical that your annual reports don’t go against the rest of your branding strategy.

In addition to this, by using effective visuals and graphics, it becomes much easier to draw attention to key data points and information that you may want to show off, or that you feel is of particular importance.

This in turn makes the document far more accessible for those who may be time poor and only want the main points. Always a plus to be able to point out key points to investors and other individuals of significance.

Annual reports and other corporate documentation are all things that we in the business world need to read and write. That doesn’t mean that they have to be boring and displeasurable though. A well written, and well designed annual report can do great things for your branding and investment strategies; so why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

At Emroy Creative Group, we are of course are more than happy to help you achieve this. Drop us a line today, and see what we can do for your corporate reports.

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