The annual report: make it stand out with the right content flow

The annual report. If you’re working in Comms or Marketing it might keep you up at night: there’s often clashes with Legal, important amends by the Directors or the Board, every word in the press release needs to be right…

This all could be different. Your annual report – or sustainability report – could kick off a convincing (B2B) campaign. That’s what we did with telecom company Proximus.

(We won’t lie, there still were rounds of amends. They’re necessary in a project of this scope.)

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The path from brief to result: where a tight deadline proves to be an asset

A sound schedule is crucial in any project – and that’s especially true for an annual report. Its deadline is set in stone, which is actually a benefit. There’s a need for clear terms and agreements, and they tend to lead to good results.

How did Proximus and BBC tackle this?

  • The first point of call for Proximus was our Account Manager. But content is at the heart of an annual report, so our copywriter got involved directly and at an early stage: for planning, briefing and interviews with key stakeholders inside the organisation.
  • A full month was needed for copywriting: composing the preface, editing copy provided by various collaborators, integrating the company’s sustainability strategy, processing amends… Texts were first written in English and then translated to Dutch and French. And we coped with an additional challenge: during the time of writing, Proximus got a new CEO.
  • We started designing the annual report whilst copywriting was in progress. There was a direct line between Proximus and our graphic designer too. The company recently established a new look and feel, so we happily took the challenge of integrating this in the report.

So, what was the result of the whole process? 150 pages, published in 3 languages, in a total of 10 weeks.

Content strategy: an annual report does deserve promotion

Content was plentiful. Proximus’ sustainability strategy is the key part of the report, and it provided lots to write about.

So we took the chance to make the annual report stand out as a part of Proximus’ communications mix. Think about it: how often does your organization get the chance to showcase all of its raison d’être in one campaign? (Just once a year, if you ask us.)

So this is the time to go all out on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

  • Proximus designed a content flow. (The effort was much appreciated, but you can also call on our Performance team to do it for you.)
  • BBC created social media posts adapted to each platform. Animation illustrates the sustainability pillars and other content from the report.
  • Mid-march, the campaign was ready to go live. But then COVID-19 happened. We fully understand Proximus had to shift its priorities.
  • Resolution came a few months later: in May 2020 ‘Our societal impact @Proximus’ was published. It’s a brochure that comprehensibly sets the scene of the company’s sustainability strategy. The publication is another result of Proximus’ direct collaboration with the BBC team: all content stems right from the annual report.

We engaged BBC in this project right from the start. They responded well to our requirements from the outset, and together we achieved a great result: our annual report, published in 3 languages, a digital campaign and our sustainability brochure. Many thanks for the open and positive collaboration.

Anne Holzkenner, Corporate Communications Manager Proximus

4 ingredients for your communications mix

Our approach to Proximus’ annual report was well-structured, and that’s not a coincidence. We based it on BBC’s four tried and tested pillars:

  • Strategy. Proximus was the driving force behind its own annual report indeed, but from the outset we supported them with strategic advice about the approach and content.
  • Creation. Before starting the ‘real work’, we proposed various visuals based on Proximus’ new look and feel, as well as an analysis of their prior annual report’s writing and recommendations for the 2019 version.
  • Technology. A report published on paper still has its role to play, but we chose to provide Proximus with an easy-to-navigate pdf.
  • Performance. We made the reach and impact for Proximus’ annual report (and its sustainability strategy) measurable, through the campaign developed around it.

Got content? Bring it on!

An extensive content flow, with discussions, amends and a strong need for detail does not worry us. So nor should it worry you. Bring on your content, we’ll handle it!

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