Annual reports – your perfect branding opportunity


27 min read

Annual reports – your perfect branding opportunity

It is not a secret that annual company reports very soon become something more than just numbers and a market forecast that you are obliged to share with your stakeholders and board members.

Although it reminds one of long and sleepless nights spent on its preparation, the importance of it is unquestionable. So far, it has been mostly perceived as a mundane duty towards senior staff, employees, public and board members. What if it could become something else?

As of 2025, all companies located in the EU market above 500 employees that are subject to public interest, will have to present not only their annual financial report, but also their actions taken towards sustainable development. A company must disclose information regarding its actions towards environmental, social and governance matters.

What does it mean to your company? If you hire more than 500 employees, you will have to present not only your financial results in your annual report for 2024, but also provide information required in ESG reporting guidelines (ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance). And this is just the beginning of what comes next.

In 2026 (for the financial year of 2025), all companies that fit at least two out of three of the following criteria must follow in their annual report the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) as well:

  1. A company had a yearly income higher than 40 millions EUR.

2. A company hires more than 250 employees.

3. The annual balance sheet (value of total assets) of a company is over 20 millions EUR.

Annual Report ABB

Sounds challenging, right?

But as challenging as it may sound, it is a perfect opportunity for your company to stand out. How? By showing your actual involvement towards sustainability and sharing success stories of your company. Boost your branding by combining things that actually matter, with a unique and captivating visual story.

The expertise we gained while working with clients on their annual reports gives us power to make this type of project as painless as possible. The ABB company trusted us with their annual report more than once. We proudly say that our cooperation with them is a great showcase of how you can present your data in an efficient and agile way while improving your branding at the same time. Because who said you cannot deliver finance sheets that intertwine with beautiful visuals of your brand?

Based on our expertise, we share with you our top 6 rules that the owner of an annual report should follow:

1. UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA PREPARATION

In our experience this step is commonly underestimated by clients and agencies, but in our opinion is the most critical one. Data that is presented in annual report is most of the time delivered and prepared by very busy clients, which have no time to deal with project managers daily, on the top of their workload. It is important to understand that acquiring this kind of information takes longer, data provided is fluid until the last moment, and overall flow of the project is very dynamic. We know how to handle such a process. It is crucial to remember that the complexity of it is not represented in the difficulty of the data and graphic representation of it, but in fact that it is carried by various departments and there is no single source of data for the report. We advise to book more time for this type of project and be prepared for multi-channel delivery of the content.

2. CHOOSING AN INTERACTIVE VERSION OVER A PAPER ONE

There is nothing wrong with keeping your annual report on paper, but consider changing it into a digital version. This way you are not only showing your commitment towards the environment but mostly creating space for an interactive approach. Adding clickable graphs and animations works perfectly for clients who need to engage their reader on a deeper level and for longer periods of time. In a digital version you are also able to incorporate videos and hyperlinks which makes your report more noteworthy and useful for the reader.

3. USING THE LEVERAGE OF THE RESOURCES YOU ALREADY HAVE

An annual report in the form of a book is a perfect opportunity to show who you really are. And by you it means the whole company. Use real photos, show your employees and offices, or any other important locations that are relevant to your business. There is no reason to ignore that approach in B2B sector, quite the opposite: we say it is a perfect opportunity to present your branding in that context, especially if they have to become public. If you do not have your company photo library yet, it is not a problem – we will help you with that. The most important takeaway is to understand that corporate data should be supported with real imagery whenever possible.

Annual Report Example

4. ADDING VALUE TO YOUR BRAND BY CREATING A STORY

Create a narrative. Turn your data into storytelling. The annual report should become a story that keeps the reader on the tip of their toes. Use actions you take towards important cases like social matters, diversity or respect of human rights, and show them to the world! You public image hasa direct impact on your financial situation, public trust and overall transparency. There is nothing stopping you from combining it all. And due to The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive that entered into force in January 2023, it actually becomes a must. Use it as an opportunity to navigate your brand story the way you would like your company to be seen.

Choose Admind for visually stunning annual reports, strategic mindset and data security. Learn more about Annual Report Design service


5. FOCUSING ON DATA CHECK

We understand how much pressure you are going under while creating an annual report, this is why we focus on proofreading and double quality checks that you do not have to. As an experienced agency we make sure our clients are feeling confident when trusting us with their numbers and data. What does it mean? That we deliver to you not only a captivating visual story on what you did, but also a double-checked (or even triple-checked) data, to make sure there is no mistake in your financials that could ruin not only your reputation but also the brand and company image. There is nothing more important than accuracy when it comes to building a strong and trustworthy brand. You would not make a mistake when it comes to numbers in financial report, so why would you let your guard down when it comes to the way of presenting it? This way you can focus on data delivery and our team will take care of the rest. We proofread everything that goes out to public: print or digital, it is equally important. Do not let your brand be associated with mistakes of any type

6. LIMITING THE RISK OF MISSING THE DEADLINE

We talked about design, about data accuracy and importance of quality checks. But none of this would matter if we miss our clients’… deadlines. We mastered our skills in brand storytelling, but also our soft and management skills. Based on our experience we can say that preparing a financial or annual report is extremely stressful time for our clients. Is there a more significant project for your company than presenting your annual efforts, success stories, responsibilities, actions taken and showing what the future holds for your stakeholders? We do not think so! We cannot stress enough how crucial it is to choose someone you can fully rely on during this time. We do not want to be only a provider of services to you, but a trustworthy, reliable and long-term partner that makes annual reports preparation easy as pie.

Annual Report Design

Summary

With that in mind, you can deliver a perfectly shaped annual report that not only fulfills the requirements of the stakeholders and respects the recently updated law, but also is a great addition to your brand and your company. We are not saying you cannot prepare your annual report by yourself, but we greatly recommend creating it with someone who can turn your annual paper into a captivating story with strong branding behind it. With no data mistakes and on time. It is a long process to present your company brand in a profitable and desired way for all stakeholders and beneficiaries. Although building or reshaping your brand is a complex process, it does not have to be dull. With an experienced team like ours, it really can be a pleasant journey. Take a look at the books we did for ABB and contact us if you would like to discuss yours.



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