Digital Annual Report vs. Printed Annual Report

It seems like you can find anything and everything on the Internet these days. Businesses have both digital files and print materials readily available. An Annual Report, an important communication tool, is used to show a company’s performance.

Should your company switch to an online annual report or continue mailing a printed piece?  My answer is both. Doing it both ways gives your audience the option to view the report the way they prefer.

Cost consideration always plays a major role in the creation of these reports. Many businesses think it costs less to create a digital report rather than a printed piece. But, in fact,sometimes you will spend more making the digital version engaging and effective.

There is a lot of evidence that shows people are more likely to respond to a printed piece. “A 2009 Millward Brown study used functional MRIs to compare brain activity as participants viewed printed and online materials. It found that printed pieced involve more emotional processing and leave a deeper footprint on the brain, making them more memorable.”

Here are a few tips for print and digital reports.

Design for printed reports– The printed reports should be designed to match your company’s branding. It can be built any size. Try to think out of the box and be different. Use spot UV or a satin stock to stand out.

Design for digital reports- Although digital reports should be designed to resemble the printed piece and remain consistent, making an effective digital Annual Report doesn’t mean posting a PDF of your printed Annual Report. Digital reports should include social media elements and links for sharing. It should also be written for friendly Search Engine Optimization.

Cost for digital and print reports– The cost of a printed pieces will vary depending on what materials you are using. If you are using a thicker stock with a satin finish, the cost will be much higher than a matte finish.  The size and shape will determine the cost as well. Anything over 8.5”x11” will be expensive. Also, die cut shapes  often cost more. Remember the simpler the piece, the less expensive it will be.

For your digital pieces, your expenses will mostly be copywriter fees and designer fees.

If it were up to me, I would go with digital and printed pieces for an annual report and I would make sure that it stands out and gets the attention of potential investors!