Category Archive: Industry Outlook

Aayush Jain – Founder of INK PPT, awarded as the Most Valued Professional (MVP) by Microsoft for 2021

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award is given by Microsoft to technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community and demonstrate their thought leadership in a product or solution consistently for several years.

Recently, Aayush was awarded MVP by Microsoft for 2021, we are glad to share his experience in the form of a questionnaire so that people may take inspiration from his work and share industry insights with the people who require it most.

How do you feel about getting the MVP Award?

No doubt, being awarded MVP feels great, though it was never my goal to win MVP, my efforts were primarily targeted to help people present better.

What was your first reaction?

I wasn’t expecting the award, since I was already rejected once for the same but this time, I got excited to hear the news. More than an award, for me it was a validation that I am on the right path.

How has been the journey?

As the journey involved helping people, it was satisfying in every aspect and made me learn numerous new things.

Were you expecting this award to be given to you?

I just applied for fun, the expectation of winning MVP was close to nil but I am fortunate that Microsoft chose me for this.

What will change for you after becoming an MVP?

I will increase the efforts I put in to help people and motivate others to do the same. It is definitely like an energy drink on your uphill mountain trek so it will be a great booster to every single initiative we do here at INK PPT and myself as a professional.

Do you have advice for people who are aiming to become the future MVPs?

If people will keep doing for the industry selflessly and with complete integrity, awards, recognitions and opportunities like these are going to find their way.

What were the criteria under which you were screened to be there?

It involved subject matter expertise, community interaction, social presence and several other criteria. Although, I am not aware of much of the Internal activities at Microsoft for this.

When you started INK PPT, did you ever think about becoming an MVP?

I always worked for reaching unexplored heights, but being an MVP was never a part of the plan. It came as a relic and we will value every bit of it.

What role did your entire INK PPT team play in your journey to be an MVP?

I am not a ‘one-man army’ I rely heavily on my team for support, direction, knowledge and of course, growing together. This award would not have been possible if they would have not believed in me since the early days.

Experience centers are the fission reactors of innovation

In the pursuit of creating an experience of a lifetime, brands go out of their way and bring in something so innovative that is surprising even for the creators. Experience centers do not just carry the product or a service but they cumulatively bring the consumers to the front by proving an opportunity to feel amazed that remained unexplored due to the lack of innovative conceptualization of consumer engagement. 

Let’s dive in to discuss the importance of experience centers and how they could come to life.

Unlock possibilities

Whenever companies look to go live with their new product or service, it’s always suggested that they create an environment, same as the actual product or try to replicate the experience through Proof of Concepts (POC), MVP (Minimum Viable Product), Prototypes and other tools that help in visualizing the experience before the product/service is made available to the public.

According to Grand View Research, the global virtual prototype market size was valued at USD 210.4 million in 2017. It is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 19.4% from 2018 to 2025. That tells us the importance of simulated experience centers, adding to the value by reducing the chances of failure while providing the opportunity of efficient feedback and correction.

Future tech display

It’s not a new notion that our future has a lot to offer, we are well aware of the pace the technology is progressing and in the times to come, mankind will witness astonishing inventions at every stage of their lives. Currently, we see brands flaunting the future tech through modelling and other techniques, which creates an experience while allowing the users to understand the happenings over time. Likewise, the University of Vermont shared about the living robots that they have developed using a supercomputer. They also released a video showcasing the mechanism while creating an experience for the future tech yet to be implemented.

Holistic Ecosystem

If you want to have every single brand element under a roof that too with working capabilities, making experience centers is the best way. Tech-enabled, simulation-based ecosystems are developed to offer real-like exposure to the users who want to live your technology and get used to the working environment. There are numerous examples of holistic ecosystems created by the brands, which offer a bird’s eye to the consumers and to the world creating a buzz around the brand. The below picture of the experience center of Pon Holdings, which was located in the Netherlands worked on the Move Mobility Experience to offer simulations and top-notch tech in the environment suiting their proposition. Brands like, Tata Steel, Hindustan Uniliver and several others have their theme-based experience centers that represent their common objectives as organizations.

Source: Bruns

Personalized brand experience

The intent of the brands must be directed to ease the way users operate the products and services so that the experience steers the way for the actual functionalities of the product rather than any unrelated aspect, which is useless to the consumers. The personalized experience is the key to attract users and keep them using the services without looking at any competitor. Many brands have been going out of their way to create a personalized experience for the consumers, as was seen with Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, which started in 2011 in Australia and got extended to several other countries, including India and China. The below photograph is of the same campaign where they used the ‘Hindi’ language to make personalized bottle packaging and people went crazy to buy the one resembling their loved ones.

Source: Packaging News

Use cases and demonstrations

It’s always more inspiring when consumers get to see their products coming to life or at least near to life situations. This creates a buzzing environment around the product as you become a talking point concerning the thoughtfulness and creativity of the brand. If the demonstration or use case gels with the company’s positioning, it becomes even more fruitful for achieving the marketing objectives of a company. The below demonstration by Jhony Walker resembled a collaboration with ‘Game of Thrones’ to come up with a brand ‘White Walker’ the display creates an environment of the show and also adds to the brand value of ‘Jhony Walker’

Source: Repsly

Conclusion

Playing strategically with the campaigns is always a thoughtful approach, which aids in creating something innovative and unique that may establish an experience of a lifetime. The inception of brand-specific experience centers leads to an extensive list of opportunities, which usually go unexplored by the marketers. Numerous brands depict a tale of experimenting with the product proposition to remain in the eyes of the audience while gaining popularity and the desired brand positioning. Experience centers are attracting mileage as users are getting influenced by the creativity and also, social media is playing a part in spreading the word like never before.

How to sustain that brand identity of yours?

Coming up with a brand identity is one ball game and sustaining over the years is completely a different battleground for most brands. To maintain the identity while being in touch with the users requires frequent communication through emails, advertisements, social media activities, billboards and other Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) tools. Marketing frequently puts organizations at the risk of overdoing it, which could lead to misinterpretation at times. We have seen brands going wrong with their positioning numerous times as they jump in at every social media trend. 

We will discuss some ways to keep the brand identity in good shape even after years of brand establishment.

Staying connected

You don’t want your users to forget your presence even if there is no business happening. Numerous brands go out of their way to remind people of the previous engagement and future prospects when there is nothing happening at present. When the world was under rigid lockdowns and we stopped moving then also brands kept the communication going. Brands like Myntra were seen sending the newsletters giving positive vibes even when there was no scope of buying and delivering the products. As a result, the wish list kept getting bigger and when the markets reopened people ordered their favourite products.

Source: Times of India

New experience

Sometimes, it becomes crucial to stand out and create a buzz around the initiatives you take as a brand. Doing this helps in maintaining that brand image, which was developed by the brand managers. Microsoft has come up with a new Taj Mahal based office in Noida that corresponds to the heritage of India and creates a talking point for every person. Taking initiatives like these helps strike a chord with the local audience and creates human connection going a long way.

Logo placement and hygiene

A brand serious about its brand guideline and image will never let anyone use its logo, inappropriately. Even the slightest of tilt, which is not in correspondence with the brand guideline is not acceptable if you look at the big picture in terms of brand identity. The most important brand asset for any organization is its logo, and its usability on numerous occasions is always mentioned in the brand guideline. Logo options like square, round, rectangular, night mode one, logo to be used with other brands etc. are mentioned along with the dimension range, colour pallets, fonts, typography and several other instructions. A company must make a strict policy against inappropriate brand asset usage to minimize the chances of moving away from the established brand identity.

Brand coherence

To achieve the milestone of successful brand coherence, organizations need to make sure that every component of the brand including products, services, communication, appearances, CSR, should fit together and come out as a distinct, single unit carrying brand identity at large. Taking an example, if you look at the strategy of ‘Volvo’ you will see that every aspect they portray is related to safety and security. Due to the same reasons, Volvo is even joked as the brand of elderly because it’s so safe while driving, and youth prefer aesthetics over safety in most cases. This brand coherence never hurts Volvo as they are targeting a specific segment, satisfied with their offerings.

The target audience

You will be making that innocent yet sizeable mistake if you start branding for every target group in the market. Every brand, irrespective of its size, goes for set target audiences that correspond to its product or service. In the same way, branding is also targeted at every instance irrespective of any other variables. To bring in more perspective, take an example of ‘Royal Enfield’ and its outreach programs that are always targeted towards their target audience of bikers, who love adventure sport and activities related to bravery, and athleticism. The below tweet validates our statement; Royal Enfield was promoting its product ‘Interceptor650’ when the post was shared by a user. You may see the person with a surfboard along with Royal Enfield, which corresponds to their positioning of fearless lifestyle. Every other post will also offer you a similar perspective.  

Source: Twitter

Standing with a cause

Every company has some values and beliefs that are the driving force of their organization. On similar lines, brands must be seen taking a step forward for the real causes that are crucial for the public. If brands start speaking up for the cause, a lot changes in the perception of the administration as well as the public. Like many other brands, Netflix spoke out for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ initiative with a black background in an Instagram post. Not only that they have made numerous contributions to the cause like, co-founders of Netflix donated $120 million to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).

Source: Instagram

Social media interaction

Social media is the most efficient and dangerous way of positioning yourself for building the desired brand identity as it doesn’t require much budget nor a team of many human resources(mostly). At the same time, it leaves a tremendous amount of space for misinterpretation and weak communication. Many brands have failed at times, the founder of Dolce and Gabanna posted a photo of sneakers that had the text “I’m thin & gorgeous” and was not taken well by the Internet users. He was seen as body shaming, tarnishing their brand image back then. We should learn from brands and only communicate after checking for several interpretations.

Source: Teen Vogue / Instagram

Following a consistent tone

Every single communication medium, be it a presentation, comment on social media, tv commercial or a public appearance, has a tone of your brand. This tone is to be embraced with utmost care so that it is consistent every time. Your brand must be having some values, approaches and opinions about the world, the same must be reflected in every single statement being made. Successful brands can maintain consistency from top to bottom in their communication, even the sales executives follow the guidelines if they are laid out for the employees. Here is the example of Coca Cola and their approach of using the brand colour ‘red’ everywhere possible that gels perfectly with their brand identity.

 

 

Robust approval process

Amongst every step to be taken strategically to position a brand, the approval mechanism stands out due to its critical impact on the outcome. The company may execute a perfect guideline, but implementation is in the hands of several employees being human and subject to honest mistakes. To minimize these instances, there must be a resolute approval process in place so that every single bit gets checked numerous times before getting out in the public. We have seen ‘Samsung’ tweeting from ‘iPhone’ and several instances like these, which could have been avoided if a strong process was followed. Though this could impact the timelines, the brand must make sure that only the responsible people are the stakeholders for maintaining the accountability and quick turnaround related to brand communication.

Customer service

For an organization, this goes without saying that customers are the most integral part. Every activity is centred to attract more customers and retain the existing ones. Often brands forget to service the customers effectively by neglecting a complaint or failing to resolve their issues. When that customer starts tweeting, brands come in action and come up with a solution straight away. It would be better on the part of brands if they resolve the issues before customers start to criticize them on social media.

Conclusion

At the start, every brand looks to ace the game of branding and maintain consistent brand identity, but with time, they lose track and deviate from the original positioning. There could be several reasons, but sustainable communication strategy lacks in most cases. Often, companies aim for the highest peak and end up as the brand with no identity of their own because sustaining the same brand language over the years demands constant and novel efforts. The brand should take a reality check at regular intervals and aim for the achievable positioning to grow consistent with their brand language.

It’s a lot more than a smartphone screen!

A constantly hooked phone screen comes with numerous exciting opportunities for building an experience of a lifetime. These opportunities help marketers to understand the emotional and transactional behaviour of consumers while operating a smartphone. A well-mapped UI/UX process could be a game-changer for the user as they will only get the favourable experience and also, the companies will be investing in the right direction rather than experimenting with their grim chances of landing somewhere great. According to Truelist, every $1 invested in UX results in a return between $2 and $100. That gives an impressive return on investment!

Let us understand how you can bring a change in the mobile experience by simply taking the assistance of advanced, yet easy to implement UI/UX technology.

Tailor-made solutions

There is nothing better than a familiar experience on a newly installed application. If you can make the user feel that the application is developed keeping their needs and expectations in mind, you will be winning over within no time. According to Claris, 74 percent of the customers saw an increase in productivity due to a custom app, and 81 percent reported a reduction in inefficient tasks. 

A customized application for your business will work according to your research and the behaviour of your target audience. With mounting competition, developers have started introducing multiple UIs for the different target audiences so that the connection with a mobile application remains intact. The below is an example of customized UI, the left one is clean and subtle and the right is more vibrant and comes with more functionality. Offering customization of this kind is always suggested.

Mobile phone experience

While planning to provide an optimized user experience, it becomes crucial to look ahead of the desktop sites and work on mobile phone experience. According to Truelist, 74% of people are likely to return to a website if it is optimized for mobile. For optimizing the website according to a device, parameters like quick loading, mobile-friendly popups, image optimization, efficient navigation help you make an impact during the initial encounters. Once you impress the user with technical expertise, you may plan for converting the user into a loyal customer with time.

Heuristic evaluation 

This evaluation is widely used to test the usability of a website or an application. You must test your application against every Heuristic parameter before the official launch in any case.

 In 1990, web usability pioneers, Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich published the landmark article “Improving a Human-Computer Dialogue”. It contained a set of principles—or heuristics—which industry specialists soon began to adopt to assess interfaces in human-computer interaction. This model guides you to test on 10 parameters and come up with an application that ticks all the boxes. The below image summarises the usability Heuristics so that you don’t make any mistakes related to UI design in the times to come.


Interactive UI/UX

You are not catering to the robots but the actual humans with emotions, reactions, expectations and feedback related to their experience. This gives you a chance to come forward and behave like a sensible application that is smart in real. Interactive UIs can learn from the user’s pattern and do every bit to make lives simpler by providing the most desired benefits with ease. While interacting with an application, users must not feel alone and see an activities participation of the application in the process. The below example suggests how you can make the journey of account creation interesting using some simple animations.

Source: UXDesign

 

Strategic user experience

The intent should move to reduce the number of taps(clicks) so that the outcome becomes effortless(close to it) during the process. It starts from efficiently mapping the user journey and understanding, what should be displayed first or which pop-up annoys the most. Even if you generate revenues through advertisements and they are to stay then also, there is always a space to do that without disturbing the primary role of the application. Advertisements should only come up after a while when the user gets a taste of the services offered by you. The below screenshots show a comparison where 4 taps could have been a single gesture for getting the directions on a smartphone. Optimization like this makes UI a competitive field for the developers.

Source: LukeW

 

Optimized icons and elements

Rather than making people remember the icons and elements of your application, you should be able to design in the direction of every element being completely understandable without putting in much effort. When people can recognize the icons, they will automatically feel at home and won’t look for any other application in the application store. Whenever a new user tries to get on board, he/she is never in the position to invest hours in comprehending the environment of the application; if you can serve everything on the platter, there is a chance of not getting uninstalled within a few minutes. The new logos of Google have set an extremely bad example when we compare them with the previous ones. Now every logo is identical making it difficult for users to navigate.

Source: TechCrunch 

Standardization

At first, we talked about customization, now we will discuss how you can customize while being standard in your approach. The approach to iconography, colour finalization and every other element should be following a standard, resembling the brand value, the correspondence with the purpose of the application and also, the familiarity with the user interaction. This uniformity will reduce the chances of any confusion coming in the way of a delightful user experience, and will also create an image of a user-centric development environment. The below design of a dashboard uses minimum colours but uniformly to depict the clear representation of data. The representation is so subtle still catches the attention as it comes with a standardized design language.

Source: Design your way

 

Simplicity

If we talk of today, being simple is to stand out when every brand is trying and extending their arms to absurd ideas and unrealistic approaches that do not have any industrial application but are different without being useful in any dimension. Going out of the way will attract headlines for some time but will never yield you results if the application is of no use. If you keep things simple and optimize the user journey with simplicity, you will achieve those headlines while retaining the ever happy user base. The below UI design from Rebecca Noren for ‘Workout Tracker’ is simple, elegant and still different in its approach. The clean design makes it easier for the users to navigate and work around the application.

Conclusion

It comes out that the prime motive of a UI/UX designer should be to design a simple to use application with the least complications and only useful tools, light on the head of the users. Achieving the same requires years of research & development along with the support of a specialized team working towards a common objective. Initially, the research costs of mapping the user journeys and comprehending the requirements mount up but with time, the cost negates as the application development and maintenance cost comes down due to an optimized and well-researched application design. Whenever you think of an application or website to be developed, look for a specialized UI/UX designer before any other human resource.

Get to know, if your business is ready for Presentation outsourcing?

Outsourcing may sound like an old idea but today, it has evolved to a whole new model of developing co-working ecosystems where experts from all walks of life come together and create something meaningful while the core brand focuses on its best. Human resources are expensive and often end up wasting time on unusual tasks. With fast-paced, “Minute to win it” economic models being prevalent, presentations have taken a centre stage for marketing, sales, strategy and people need to focus on their core with the right team who has supported them just like a team sitting in the next department.

The companies of size look to develop the skills in-house by hiring the human resource and trainers so that they don’t have to go out searching for a partner with subject-matter expertise. This seems lucrative but implementing the plan of new skill addition and that too in the entire team is quite far-fetched. We are going to list down some crucial indicators that suggest, you are required to outsource your processes.

Multiple project coordination

When companies start working on numerous parallel projects at a time, the attention span gets reduced and rather than concentrating on the core competencies, they start wasting their energy on the aspects they are not so good at! This creates a sense of uncertainty and also hinders ongoing operations that are crucial for the company. Companies like these must look for a partner with capabilities so that multiple executions could go on simultaneously without any hindrance.

 

Subject matter experience

You must be outsourcing several departments and processes or looking to do the same. The list of such departments ought to increase every instance as the complexity in a niche is exponentially blasting. Being a “jack of all trades” is not possible in the advanced ecosystem of the ever-evolving industrial outlook! You may be good at some things but mastering every skill out there will take you ages. For the same reasons, companies opt for third-parties who carry the domain mastery, proven over the years. This eases up the pressure on their employees and also helps the balance sheet in numerous ways.

Distributed teams

Being an organization of size offers numerous perks but comes with a crisis of mismanagement, non-uniformity, scattered approaches and a decentralized monitoring mechanism.  Multiple people of multiple departments working on a single project lead to many unrelated outputs that are undesirable as a part of business expectations. If you get a dedicated department for that specific domain without even setting up the infrastructure, the job at hand will become easier. Outsourcing your processes could help you establish the same so that you come out with a unified approach suitable for the business.

Rebranding instances

When a company goes for a positioning shift or rebranding, they require immense help in getting the designs changed along with every other brand asset. Companies go for fresh brand guidelines that are to be defined and followed both internally and externally. Defining all these guidelines and assets internally will turn out to be a task so immense that you won’t be able to execute on your own. A creative agency will offer you rebranding expertise as they come with an experience of performing the same for numerous brands, this will not only ease up the burden on your employees but also offer you a promising rebranding experience and that too at a justifiable cost.

Virtual projects

After we got hit by the pandemic, everything has started to happen virtually, ranging from your meetings, events, training to even interviews. This has changed the way people operate in the industry while demanding newer techniques to be employed for standing out in the industry. Outsourcing your projects to an expert would result in efficient business processes, quick turn around time, creative ideation, and ease of executing multiple projects at a single time.

PR matters

Your brand guidelines are the core of your identity and the same needs to be nourished from time to time. For efficient PR, you require a robust communication strategy and also, a partner who can assist you in the same. Specifically for the PR and public outreach, numerous creatives, designs, marketing collaterals are required giving rise to the requirement of a design agency. We mastered the art of communicating the brand to the fullest with complete integrity, outsource with INK PPT to get your branding personified.

Endnote

Today, numerous companies wish to gain expertise in their core business and go for the service providers for other domains. You may also argue that it’s best to develop the skill in-house rather than going out for the same, but the possibility of acing every vertical without disturbing the core operations is not practically viable. Having an experienced agency with a history of great work, over the years will offer you a distant outlook along with the promised services that could be difficult to develop internally. Next time you get stuck, look for an expert and get the things done at an equitable cost.

A mobile responsive presentation design gives you an instant edge

When every little thing is being optimized for mobile, then why does a mobile presentation raise eyebrows? The fact that presentations are easily accessible on mobile without changing much doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t optimize it for enhanced user experience. According to eMarketer statistics, even longer content such as ebooks is increasingly read on smaller, mobile devices, with 54% of people who buy eBooks are reading them on their phones. The same could be constituted for a presentation depicting the importance of a mobile responsive presentation.

Let us take you through a detailed discussion on the mobile responsiveness of the presentation.

Ease of use

How often do you look for a mobile application of a service or a company just due to the ease of usage? This happens because a webpage is developed initially for desktops then converted into a mobile compatible version, but apps are solely developed with a view of a mobile screen, making it ideal for usage at any point in time. Mobile presentations also offer the same level of ease of usage as it will fit in the mobile screen as if it belongs there. This ease of use is getting the mileage because of the increasing competition, which has made customers an inevitable king for decades to come.

Omnipresence

A brand is known for its versatility and much more such things, having a mobile presentation gives you an edge and caters to that smart audience, which is close to the technology and looking for a new set of applications every time. Along with the usability, the mobile responsive presentation also adds to your arsenal of technologically advanced and thoughtful resources that desire upgradation now and then. As your website should be available on every platform like mobile, desktop tablets and also, compatible with the voice assistants like Alexa, your presentations have also started demanding the same importance as businesses are being run and won using presentations.

Innovation with mobile decks

A top-notch brand remains at the peak of every activity and adapts to the newest trend in the blink of an eye. When companies are innovating by coming up with mobile responsive presentations, then the ones left behind will only look like an outdated brand with a vulnerable industrial outlook. Mobile innovation helps you connect with the audience as they seem to associate with an innovative brand and the search for novelty remaining intact in several dimensions.

Zoom free responsive mechanism

You will be able to open a presentation file on your mobile with the help of some supported applications but won’t get that responsiveness you receive on the desktop; this responsiveness is achieved with mobile presentations as they offer a zoom free mechanism where you won’t require to pinch in and out with your fingers to see the whole content. 

Readability and clarity of content

The whole internet fraternity is going gaga over enhancing the readability of the document over a website, mobile applications or any other medium so that the reader has to make minimum efforts in getting the information. The millennials take up most of the pie in terms of technology users, and they keep looking for an effortless experience at a minimum cost. Mobile presentations stand tall in that direction and come up with perfectly readable slides and soothing to eyes presentations over a mobile screen. Readability has also been cherished for some years, the mobile responsive presentation will help you achieve that.

It’s all about the experience

A perfectly laid out and organized content, in sync pictures and infographics offer the experience desired by every individual. A presentation is not capable of providing the same on a mobile device till the time it’s made responsive for the mobile screens. Brands are striving to provide an enhanced experience in any way possible to get ahead of the competition. This also helps in better positioning of the brand and may come out as the USP of the product design.

Conclusion

Say, you delivered a presentation and sent the same along with the mobile responsive one to the client, the chances of getting noticed and admired skyrocket due to the innovative steps taken during the presentation design. This practice could also lead you to a project which was long-awaited and out of your league due to the tough competition. If you wish to get a customized and mobile responsive presentation developed for your brand, you may click here and get in touch with one of our experts.

How to communicate better with your sustainability report?

You have already come a long way if you realize that a separate sustainability report is required, rather than including the same in the annual financial report. Your pursuit for the environment and the betterment of people, need to get a designated space of importance, both in your budget and also, in the minds of your investors. A dedicated sustainability report will offer you an emotional and human-centric edge over your competitors as you will be connecting directly with the audience by showing the side not being known by most of the stakeholders. This practice also helps you become large in the eyes of your investors in numerous aspects.

The intent of any activity must always remain to pass on the message in the way desired. let us take you through some crucial aspects of better communication with sustainability reporting.

Scientific connection

Reaching the ears of some wise people will ask you to present your findings and strategy with the strong backing of scientific data or proving your facts with scientific theories; a weak statement without facts will only make your stance ambiguous in the eyes of your investors. Describing the source of information explicitly will make you seem like a stronger company with concrete values. There is no doubt, you must be using scientifically proven approaches for the betterment of society and the community, but communicating the same, transparently becomes necessary.

Adopting global reporting standards

There are many standards proposed by the global bodies for keeping the track of activities and making them comparable with each other. Bodies like the United Nations (UN), Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and others suggest these standards and are well taken by most of the brands. Adopting standards like GRI and SDI will make your reporting at par and mapping of the credibility would also become easier. These standards are made to bring uniformity and better tracking of compliances at the same time.

Stories of change

If you are the change maker and there are stories of your doings that brought a positive change in the lives of the people, the same needs to be communicated well to the audience. The real stories are always intriguing and go a long way in sparking the connection between the brands and the stakeholders by giving the human touch to the document. These change stories could be related to the campaigns you have run over the past year, which could be narrated as a tale of betterment and prosperity for the underdeveloped section of the society.

Scenario analysis

Whenever a company acts upon the situation, there is a consensus that there are some major issues to be solved for uplifting the living standards on our planet. The scenario must be portrayed with complete discretion to the readers so that your intentions towards the society gets communicated. Doing so will let the readers understand your research capability and will also make them realize, your doings will bring a positive change. This scenario analysis will also provide an outlook of future activities while outlining the expectations from the citizens for a sustainable future. If you are the one just planting trees without comprehending the exact scenario, there is an immediate need to understand the requirements and act upon the same; randomly picking up a project would only lead to a conclusion that the activities are being performed just for the sake of doing.

Snapshot of CSF Sustainability Report

Prioritization of material issues

Here comes the point where you need to pick your battles, a company cannot just try making improvements on every front in a single go, there is a need to capitalize on the most important issues that are aligned with the vision and brand identity of your company. It could also happen that you are doing a lot in a tremendous amount of areas, but the same would also require efficient communication for the investors to comprehend your stand. In this case, prioritization in terms of space is to be done; your concrete dealings or the ones reflecting your brand must get the maximum space and limelight while other doings should get exhibited with a minimized space. At times, there is a desire to tell everything, but in most cases, it is not possible due to the readability, and budget constraints. 

Integrated approach

It becomes your responsibility to move ahead with the cohesive approach of sustainability and reporting the same transparently. Three pillars of sustainability, namely the economy, society, and environment are to be taken into consideration so that your goals are aligned with the sustainability strategy of yours. A company must portray the accomplishments that support all three pillars at the same time. Say, you develop an eco-friendly product that is not economically viable, this will yield you praises at first, but in the end, it will turn out to be a product lacking practical implementation. An approach that looks after all three together helps in building the top to the bottom mechanism of sustainable development both, inside and outside the organization. Once you have achieved this, the same needs to be communicated well to come out as an organization of sensible and practical values.

Snapshot of the Goodera Sustainability Report

Third-party assurance and data quality

Third-party assurance is a buzzword making rounds in the industry concerned with sustainability reporting, as you require more than just saying the words and portraying the numbers in case of your data and conduct. A trusted and reputed third-party assurance of the venture for the community, environment, or economy validates your claims of being a friend of society and helps you maintain the image of being transparent at all times. Every brand going for sustainability reporting is trying hard to include these assurances not just to get through the compliance but also to remain the most reliable in the eyes of their investors. A plain data or some photographs will not do justice to the investors who trust you and expect your reporting to remain top-notch in every aspect. A sustainability report must come up with designated spaces for third-party assurance and data quality rational to stand out or say, stay in the spot of being a people-friendly company.

Brand value and identity

A report must be designed in such a way that the reader gets to know your brand without even looking at the cover page. Meaning, the theme and the design of the report must be a clear reflection of your brand identity and the USP you carry in the market. Include the pictures represent your style, icons that correspond to your image, a font that resembles your personality and other aspects that could illuminate the words with the brand value. Incorporating the ideas in this particular direction will yield tremendous results, and your investor would love the way your report.

Thoughtful Design approach

Your design language should speak on its own and convey the message of your last year’s developments. Along with that, you should keep in mind, sticking with the natural and earthy design language that is close to nature and also soothing to the eyes. Using soft contrasts, textures along with the empathetic image and typography would result in a cherishing and delightful output for every stakeholder going through the report.

Snapshot of Dell Sustainability Report

Conclusion

In the end, remaining honest and transparent in your reporting is the brightest gem to sustain. If investors are putting the trust along with their hard-earned money, there is no point disappointing them with the unclear data and ambiguous activities, just completed for the sake of reporting. Also, communicating the same with complete integrity and clarity is the biggest task that should remain the topmost priority at all times.

What’s next in the line for financial reporting?

Annual financial reports are a lot more than just figures of a fiscal year, portraying the health and wealth of the company.

The annual report comes out as the most subtle and exciting way of communicating your brand value without even marketing it explicitly. You get to showcase your company’s culture, talk about future endeavours and make your investors happier at the same time.

Though every government mandates certain companies to make their annual reports public for transparency and a sense of understanding for the investors, there is a lot more than compliances to an Annual report. Let us know what’s next to be explored and cherished.

Digital Annual Report Optimization

Annual reports, designed specifically for digital platforms may not be the newest, but they are certainly not the conventional way of delivering reports in the larger space. A printable annual report, being saved as a PDF and then shared on digital platforms is not the digital report we are talking about.

Digital reports are never printed and are made device-specific for extensive usability across devices like mobiles, tablets, desktops. This upgradation of reporting could be your next technological advancement and will certainly make you and your investors stand out.

Digital reports allow effortless navigation and comprehension as they are smoothly scrollable, clickable, lets you zoom in and out conveniently and also offer you a vibrant outlook of being revolutionary.

Visual Reporting rather than Annual Reporting?

Let’s call it an engagement mechanism rather than a report! If your annual report is just full of numbers, paragraphs, looking like a news bulletin, there is no chance, the ignorant audience of these days will spend their time to toggle between those figures and comprehend your success. The task at hand is to make it a cakewalk and achieving that is fairly possible with the visual narration of the crucial stats. More than speaking, it’s about showing the happenings of a year spent well on growth and prosperity. Going forward, more and more brands will be shifting towards visualization, and the practice will become pretty normal in the coming years.

IOCL Annual Report Snapshot

More reporting with storytelling

It would be a crime to start a report without deciding a motive; for reaching somewhere, at least a direction is required. Your theme works as a definite path of progress. Aligning that story with the progress will make you stand out; for doing so, the narrative must be built around the key achievement or the past year and revolve around every other crucial aspect. More than anything else, you must build an inspiring story of your work and never forget to pay gratitude to your investors, wherever required.

Video Reporting

You can’t expect every investor to be fond of reading! You ought to provide to the good listeners and the viewers too. Going forward brands will be more end result-focused, providing comfort to the audience as they desire. The video report must not be another version of the digital report with some animations but a solely developed video that is easier to comprehend, remember and also with a story that connects.

Connecting people with people

Rather than using animated graphics, it’s going to be a lot more useful, if you use the real photographs of real people to connect the audience with the exact definition of your brand. You can’t just miss out on the human connection, not now, not in the future!

This practice helps in developing your brand as a people-centric one and lends the emotional touch required to gain a loyal and growing investor base.

CSF Annual Report Snapshot

Reporting through smart copywriting

Moving forth, brands will be narrating a tale through their numbers and visuals, but the text will also go through a transition. Starting with the initial heading to a footnote, every aspect must be a well thought out one depicting the clear essence of the last spent year. Brands are working on a concept of making the annual report seem like a mystery novel offering a sense of tranquillity at the end. This tranquillity must come from the fact that investors have made the correct decision to stick to your brand.

Marketing the success

You may be printing the reports or posting them on your website but, are you marketing the masterpiece that has been created over the year? This seems like uncharted territory for many as they will market the products, services and everything else but fail to put an honest effort into making the most influential document available with ease. The required intensity of marketing the report is going to be the same or even more in the coming years than the one for developing the report. The same phenomenon will decide the future of new investments coming your way. 

While making your reports public, one must work on investor communication more than anything else so that your document even reaches the moon in a single click.

ESG Disclosures

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance disclosure is not the thing of the future but is surely less adopted by the brands. If you are willing to be the trendsetter or remain at that very spot, then your ESG must be reflected with a designated space for comprehension and conveying the essence you carry throughout. More than anything else, your investors require hard data showcasing the heart of the company they have been believing in. There is no better way to include that in your reports. If you can deploy your value creation model in place, you will gain an investor sticking with you even when the tide is not your way.

Endnote

You can’t just expect people to read your report without any incentive; there must be an informative angle providing an industry outlook as a whole. The intent will remain to connect the people through reader-friendly technology, investor-friendly approaches and people-centric communication. If you are willing to begin the next disruption, there is no point to step back and not experiment creatively with your reporting. 

Though reports will change the prime objective of providing the investors with the information about the brand’s, financials won’t get lost in between.