How to Create Annual Reports that are Retained - Not Recycled

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At AM&P’s Annual Meeting — just a few weeks away — association professionals can access a design-oriented session track that includes presentations on "Reviving the Annual Report” and "How a Magazine Redesign Reinvented the Member Experience.” Here are some highlights from the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation’s upcoming talk on how to breathe new life into your annual report.

By Alessia Kirkland

At this year's Annual Meeting, attendees will have the opportunity to get in touch with their creative side, thanks to the new Design half-track. The two design-focused sessions will offer inspiration and takeaways for association designers and editors who are looking to try something new.

The first design session, "How a Magazine Redesign Reinvented the Member Experience," presented by Michael Gips (vice president of publishing, ASIS International) and Debbie Bates-Schrott (president, Bates Creative) will explore ASIS International's strategy for redesigning its monthly flagship publication while simultaneously launching a new digital edition for members. Attendees will learn how editorial and design decisions redefined member and staff expectations, as well as tips for taking the design of both print and digital editions in-house following a redesign launch.

For the second design session, "Reviving the Annual Report," Laura Fleming Doyle (executive director, the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation) and Mike Ryan (design director, Journey Group), take what can often be a routine-looking, numbers-heavy product and breathe new life into it, resulting in an engaging piece with a concise theme, appealing art, inspiring stories, and valuable information, all in an inventive form.

Here are a few highlights/tips from Mike and Laura's presentation on how to make sure your brand's annual report is retained and not recycled.

1. Make it distinct. Take a survey of what other brands in your space are publishing and create yours to stand out in the pile. For example, use a different form factor. Your annual report doesn't even have to be a book. It could be a deck of cards or a microsite. If it is a book, make it a distinct size.

2. Develop a theme.Your annual report should stand apart from your own collateral, too. Take the opportunity to customize your annual report by developing a conceptual theme. Make art and content that visually expresses that concept. A singular theme expressed with care and beauty will be more memorable than just another book full of reporting.

3. Create a valuable leave-behind for your audience. This drives engagement with the report and brand. The Dental Trade Alliance Foundation wanted to make its annual report valuable by stitching in a fold-out poster that educated the reader about DTAF's theme: The correlation between dental health and whole-body health. The poster was so valuable that their constituents were asking for more copies and communicating DTAF's message effectively on their behalf.

For more tips and design inspiration, be sure and attend the Design half-track sessions at this year's Annual Meeting, June 15-17, at the Ronald Reagan Building, Washington. DC. See you there!

Alessia Kirkland is creative director, Optics & Photonics News, for the Optical Society (OSA) and a member of the AM&P Annual Meeting Committee.

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