Next level interactive reporting
Client: Genesis Energy
Embedding videos to play within the page was a major step forward in both communication effectiveness and maximising the powers afforded by digital delivery.
The Genesis reporting story is one of rapid advances in capturing both their business story and the mutually dependent sustainability story. This year’s report built directly on the strides made in the 2022 (which won Gold in the global ARC Awards). And as the company’s business strategy gained even greater clarity over the 12 month period reported on, we could all see the opportunity to convey that with more engaging creativity.
Having made the leap to a ‘digital-first’ format last year, this year’s brief was to advance its capabilities by integrating a large video component to the content adding a new dimension to the reporting and enhancing storytelling.
The introductory pages brought to the forefront the multiple investments in more renewable energy that were in action – focusing the reader’s attention on a major solar farm in Canterbury and a biomass trial to diminish the country’s reliance on oil and coal for the backup energy security that Huntly Power Station provides. Those pages succinctly and powerfully communicated the three strategic pillars of:
- A low carbon future
- A sustainable business, and
- A more equal society
Having ensured those key messages were conveyed effectively for the skim reader, the remainder of the report was devoted to drilling into the evidential detail of how those strategies were being implemented. With more to convey than previous years, the Genesis team ensured the written content was crisper than previous years, making sure the messaging was clear.
The design uses a balanced, confident approach to open the report, using two brand colours to highlight the business today (constant) and business tomorrow (change) that underpins the headlines, supporting narrative and thematic link to the strategic pillars that are reported on. We use uppercase typography for a confident, stake in the ground representation of what Genesis has done and continues to do, to ensure New Zealand’s low carbon future.
The uppercase typography continues to open each strategic pillar, balancing the use of white space on chapter title pages, with active, feature images on the next page in the report. The general layout approach continues with an agile sense, a mix of larger and smaller video sizes to create pace, and help guide the reader through the report. Use of an underlined type style for intro text and pull quotes provides a continuation of the confident, active approach.
The greatest advance, however, was in embedded interactivity. Supporting photography came alive upon a click to trigger an explainer video playing within the page itself, while for print delivery those images were triggered to play on a smart device via a QR code. Working with videos largely produced over the reporting year, careful consideration was given to the best image to use as the still image in the PDF and interactive versions of the report, to ensure a balanced approach reflecting a mix of assets, people and places through the report.
As last year, easy, intuitive, clickable navigation allows the reader to personalise how they view and interact with the report based on their interests thereby providing a more engaging experience. It also reinforces 's desire to illustrate how the multiple activities the company undertakes are thoroughly interconnected.
Maximising these interactive opportunities meets the growing trend of how digital information is accessed and delivers a number of benefits for the reader and for Genesis. It makes the report accessible to anyone with an internet connection and widens the available audience by meeting the way digital content is consumed. The NZ on Air ‘Where are the audiences?’ survey for 2023 underlines this. It found that New Zealanders continue to favour online video as an important part of consuming news with the digital age divide closing through solid growth in the 50+yo demographic, a sweet spot for an annual report audience.
The videos also enhance transparency by providing more depth and insight to the projects, people and partnerships that are featured. For example, after reading about the background and outcome of the biomass trial in the report they are able to view the video on the page and see exactly what was involved and hear what was done and why from Genesis and the overseas experts brought in to assist with the trial.
It was the same with the establishment of a contact centre at the Tokaanu Power Station outside Turangi and the launch of an innovative new EV product. Reading the report gave a succinct overview of both, but the videos detailed the thinking behind it and showed how simple the the EV product is, clearly illustrating its benefits. The video was equivalent to approximately 225 words of copy. When added to the 159 words used on the product in the report, the reader was provided far more insight than they might have been with a traditional approach. The video for the contact centre showed how important the new roles are to the individuals and the community where employment is tight. Being able to see that connected in a more powerful way than words.
Importantly, readers now have the choice of an online interactive report, a PDF version where they can access the videos by barcode or a short URL in addition to the traditional printed report. Thoughts are now focused on how the next report can be further enhanced within the interactive framework. Video will play a key role in that.
The inclusion of embedded rich media took the reach and engagement of the report to another level. The videos also enabled more active internal communication and engagement, allowing the report to be shared in a more targeted way with staff and through channels like LinkedIn. Over the three weeks following profit announcement, these videos were the assets used to engage Genesis staff with the report. Each week an overview of the section was highlighted via email using the videos as a call to action.
The Integrated Report received excellent feedback from the business and stakeholders who appreciated its comprehensive, transparent and engaging coverage. The online interactive version was particularly well received, with viewers reporting the in-document videos were a surprising complement to the information in the text. Similarly, the QR codes in the pdf version linking to the videos on our YouTube channel were appreciated for their simplicity in accessing this additional layer of information.