Is the annual report dead?

Smart phones, Twitter, Instagram and the never-ending wave of 24-hour communication coupled with people’s busy lives can make holding paper seem positively archaic.

Do people still read annual reports? What is the point when everything is so “digital,” so immediate?

Let me answer with a question: Do you still get excited when someone sends you a note in the mail?

Of course you do!

That feeling of tangibility still means something. It’s something you can hold and digest, and it’s something that’s an in-depth look on a topic (presumably) you care about.

No matter how digital the world is, your year’s accomplishments are much greater than an Instagram picture or single Tweet of a chart.

An annual report:

  • remains a powerful tool to communicate a full picture of your company’s strengths and strategies.
  • reinforces your brand and image.
  • serves as a formal record of achievements and challenges of each year.
  • demands elevated respect, especially since it’s such a formal document.
  • provides a unique opportunity to allow the CEO, chairman or other senior leader to address directly key stakeholders and/or investors in a more thorough way than 280 characters.

An online version is necessary given much of today’s workflow, but it is best suited as a compliment to the printed piece, not as a replacement.

A piece of collateral with beautiful images and well-written text stands out amidst much of the digital “noise” as a concrete piece your stakeholders can connect with on a deeper level.

Photo credit:

unsplash-logoSan Kaÿzn