According to the 2015 Comprend Capital Market Report, digital annual reports have grown in stakeholder popularity by 21% over the past 5 years. However, some companies have been apprehensive about digitalising their reports – despite benefits to both the company and the readers.
Making the decision to go digital with your annual report can be a
difficult one. Aside from acquiring the necessary internal buy-in, it
also can involve stepping outside conventional comfort zones. But
the fact is, 88% of capital market stakeholders read the annual
report from a screen, so it’s important to make the content accessible
for the format.
Electrolux is one company that is going beyond traditional annual
reporting and producing a beautiful digital annual report. We spoke
to Maria Norin, Manager Financial Communication at Electrolux to
share their journey, advice and key insights about digital annual
What is one important thing you have learned through producing a digital annual report?
“Our digital annual report is based entirely on the printed version, which is the main product in our production. The main lesson we’ve learned is that the digital report must be written in a concise way and have a clear structure, which also helps us to improve the printed annual report,” said Maria.
When people read from a screen, it is necessary to review the printed content and break it down into what is most important. Readers need to be presented with pared down content – less is more is the world of digital reading.
What were some of hurdles in making a digital report in comparison to a traditional printed report?
“I think most of our hurdles are similar to other organisations. It can be difficult to justify increased costs and efforts in making a digital annual report. Especially since many of our stakeholders in the capital market seem satisfied with being able to download a PDF. Despite these hurdles, we still see many benefits in creating a digital annual report. The digital format of the annual report is more suitable to be integrated in a clear way on our website in comparison to a PDF. This means that we can showcase the report on the IR homepage throughout the year. The annual report is attractive to a wider breadth of individuals because it contains great basic information about the group, a strategy description, market position, etc.”
What was most important to you when creating the digital annual report?
“Most important for us when we produced the digital annual report was not to ‘reinvent the wheel’ so to speak. We did not want to start an entirely new digital annual reporting process after we had completed the traditional report. The information from the printed version goes entirely into the digital version and managed by our agency, and we do ‘as little as possible’.”
Electrolux, like many other companies, want to ensure that the digital report is created in a way that is cost effective. To make this a reality, Comprend took the printed content and designed it so it was easy to read – from both a desktop and a mobile device. Thus, the existing content is better suited for digital devices while also eliminating redundant re-writes.
What improvements, if any do you plan on making to next year’s digital annual report?
“We always aim to continually improve in terms of content, structure and design. One area that we would be keen to improve is to the distribution and promotion of the report. This would help it reach more individuals and increase readership.”
Knowing where and how to promote a digital report is a common difficulty for companies new to the digital reporting process. By pulling out interesting graphs, data and facts, the company can easily share annual report information via social media. Put the items into a social sharing or editorial calendar like Buffer, Hootsuite or CoSchedule. These tools will automatically post your content – which means one less thing for you to do.
What were some benefits of producing a digital annual report?
“One of the advantages of producing a digital annual report is the opportunity to differentiate the information between the printed and the digital version. Some information is better suited to the web than in a printed product. For instance, we have chosen to put a large part of our sustainability information, including the GRI reporting only in the digital version of the annual report.”
Although Electrolux didn’t want to drastically change the content from their printed report, offering exclusive content in the digital report means more people will read it. Similarly, it’s good to strategise what works for each format. Somethings are made for print, whereas others require the dynamic reading experience provided by digital.
Visit the 2014 Electrolux digital annual report.
Download your free copy of the 2015-2016 Webranking Highlight Magazine.