Annual report is an important document that lets any company represent the performance and achievements to the stakeholders, customers or other interested audience. Although there are main rules to write such reports, the essential task when making such report is not only to follow the proper content, but also use the visual, verbal or mixed techniques and strategies effectively. In this paper, the annual report of Coca-Cola Company for 2013 will be analyzed to show how the document such as report can be persuasive and useful for the company development and reputation support. The persuasive message of the annual report is important to keep the position on the market and attract new customers. The analysis provided further shows numerous examples how the choice of words, graphs, diagrams, structure, colors and mood in the report makes it interesting and efficient for new investors as well as for the customers, who need the detailed information of the Coca-Cola performance.
Considering ten important steps marked out by Tuohey (2002), one can see that this report addresses almost all of them to a different extend. The document is oriented to bring the message to two audiences. The first consists of the investors that can learn the financial flows, the basic information, other data sources that are aimed to convey the managers and analysts that this company is a profitable input for any investor. The second type of the audience comprises the customers, who already buy the goods, but need to be sure that they are the priority for the company, they are cared about and make sure the product is of high quality and appropriate price to stay faithful to it and advise it to their friends. The report includes the basics about the company, its stuff. Moreover, it provides the link www.ccamatil.com for the additional information to let the audience search for more details from the credible sources (CCA, 2013).
The text is characterized by the usage of the plain English to let those, who does not know the financial and economic detail well, comprehend its message. The wording is mostly not very descriptive and powerful. Instead, many of the sentences are not full. Therefore, the report is more likely to inform rather than affect the reader. The business, products and company workers are mostly described in the same plain tone. The financial reports could not avoid the terms like treasury risk, procurement, litigation, taxation etc. Nevertheless these notions are unknown to the majority of average consumers. However, many details that are met are rarely interesting for the average consumers. The report covers the comparison to the previous year to show the stronger and weaker areas of the company.
Considering the visual techniques of the report, one can see the bright cover with the well-known cans with the product that is produced by Coca-Cola. The combination of red and white that has been the composite sign of the company since its appearance is followed from the first to the last page of the document. The red color of the headings is an important feature to attract the readers’ attention to the key points and announcements. The table below clearly presents the earnings and the dividends. The whole document is sufficiently filled with colorful charts, graphic representation of data that lets get the most important information. Formatting that includes the variety of the print size, color and boldness lets filter the main information from the more detailed ones. The same function is performed by the content that lets one easily orient in the information, find the proper pages. The titles and the headings are wisely correlated to the graphs and tables and logically follow one another. The colors of the whole document deserve special attention as it is a wise correlation of red, grey and white that corresponds to the main colors of the Coca Cola Company label.
The interviews with photos of the managers and directors in the beginning of the report are aimed to make a connection on the emotional level in order to emphasize the human side of cooperation. The essential part in the mixed visual and aural strategy is the kind smile of both representatives – the chairman David Gonsky and group managing director Terry Davis. Additionally, the signatures made by the pen with human hand can be also regarded as the attempts to bring to attention the human aspect of cooperation that still exists in the era of high technologies. The list of the directors’ board with their main career achievement are used to let the investors know whom they are going to cooperate with, while, for the average people, such information is also important and attractive as they can trust the professionals. The main sums of the financial report together with the explanatory summaries next to it let even those, who are not well-informed in finances understand the main ideas of the financial flows and results.
The persuasive arguments in the report are supported by their credibility, knowledge, ability and similarity to the target audience. The information is credible and makes the readers believe that what they read is true. The report is quite knowledgeable as it provides much new and precise information about the company and its performance, informs people about the achievements and failures as well. However, the abundance of information and small font makes it difficult to comprehend the information. Many features are aimed to make the report easy to comprehend by means of numerous illustrations met in everyday life.
The report is obviously aimed to make the audience acquaint with the company deeply rather than superficially. Clearly outlined structure provides detailed information about the company. Such information can hardly be interesting for the average people. Nevertheless, the visual, verbal and mixed techniques provide the possibility to the professional find the information about Coca-Cola performance easily. The general overview of the report makes an impression of the informative and credible one. However, it is more likely to be oriented on investors rather than average consumers as it contains much numerical data, mostly small print and not many attractive design elements apart from the tables and graphs.
- CCA. (2013). Annual Report. Retrieved from: http://ccamatil.com/investorrelations/annualreports/2014/co0135_cca%20annual%20report_a4%202013_fin_revised%20single%20pages%20screen%20res.pdf
- Tuohey, P. (2002). Ten things to keep in mind when writing an annual report. National Investors Relations Institute, pp.16-17. Retrieved from: http://www.marcomresearch.com/pdfs/tenthings.pdf