MUMBAI: Annual Reports is just more than numbers, it’s a piece of handiwork through which a company can promote itself, its prospects to its various stakeholders. It is no longer just a compilation of statistics.
And to make them more interactive rather than just plain vanilla, AICL Communications, a full-service strategic communications consultancy, has taken upon itself to change the way one looks at the boring text running over pages and pages.
A recent survey by Burson-Marsteller found that 95 per cent of chief executives in the US believe corporate reporting plays a critical role in achieving key business objectives. To bring that thought and change in India as well, AICL is assisting several Indian corporates in giving shape and character to their annual reports, paving the way for stakeholder groups to understand them better.
The company has big daddies of various categories as its clients. Reliance Industries, Zee, Hindustan Unilever, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IDBI Bank, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Group, Hero MotorCorp, to name a few.
AICL Communications CEO Arvind Agrawal says, “Many companies now recognise the significant role an annual report plays in providing a road map of key messages and strategic direction. The role of annual reports has been largely changed by innovations in technology that have broadened access to information. At AICL, we are partnering the best Indian brands to help them create a corporate image among the investor community that is commensurate with their business potential.”
The thought is to add spunk and interactivity in addition to containing relevant information, visuals and imagery. Today, good annual reports are as essential as good advertising for any company. The best practices to create a good annual report according to Agrawal are: data visualization, use of imagery to highlight company’s scale, highlight company’s contribution to people and the planet through its CSR.
“Internet too has changed the way people look at things. We believe that if one can access the annual report online then it becomes very interactive,” says Agrawal while stating the example of HUL, Zee on how such companies have created micro-sites for their annual reports.
“We have immense respect for the work and effort AICL invests to make our reports an interesting read. These reports not only help us gain a leadership position in the minds of current and prospective stakeholders, but also allows us to clearly state our goals and pioneering initiatives in the space we operate in,” added Zeel global head brands Ronald Landers for the company which is in its fifth year of association with the consultancy.
AICL operates in the specialised domain of corporate reporting, with services spanning annual and sustainability reports, internal communication, digital and moving image solutions.
When asked if the company is looking at raising funds from the market, Agarwal pointed out that since it operates in a niche space and has a high profile clientele, the company doesn’t need funds from the market and are self-sufficient at present.
The company’s quest to underscore the importance of reporting has driven it to continuously strive towards innovation in the domain. In doing so, it has built a portfolio of clients which comprise nearly 40 per cent of the BSE Sensex, 30 per cent of the Nifty 50 and three of the eight Indian Fortune 500 companies, besides multiple MNCs and PSUs.