The ninth of our “Nine Secrets of Integrated Reporting Success”
The appetite for paper reports continues to decline. Most people now read work-related material on screens, printing is expensive, and the production of a physical report has environmental implications. That said, most of our clients continue to produce a hard-copy report, but in much smaller volumes.
Going digital makes sense for other reasons, too. It allows you to splice content into multiple channels (e.g. vector and image-based files can be repurposed for social media, web content, etc.), gives you the ability to tailor content for a specific audience (e.g. sustainability fact sheets for ESG analysts), and offers data-driven insights into the level of reader engagement to inform future communications decisions.
The Marks & Spencer 2019 Integrated Report (note: not authored by BWD) is a great example of digital report delivery done well.
A digital-centric approach can also help you reach a broader (global) audience, and provides a canvas for more engaging content (e.g. animations, interactive infographics and video). If you choose to build a microsite to house your reporting material, make sure you include a link to the full-length PDF. Every analyst and investor BWD surveyed in 2020 said they prefer to read a PDF document, because it allows them to immediately find the content they are looking for (by using Ctrl F).