Reflecting - not pretending! – We are impressed! Once again, many Swiss companies are investing heavily in their annual report as a communication medium.

We, the jury members, know what that means. A great deal of hard work and especially thought. And of course cash. Well invested cash, in our view – as long as the outcome is a good product. As is the case with the prize-winning annual reports.

All the companies in the top group share the same determination to improve constantly. They communicate authentically or, to put it perhaps more clearly: without distorting the facts. That lack of distortion is apparent at four different levels in the best annual reports.

I am pleased to say that nobody seems at all tired by the duty of reporting comprehensively. Among the twelve finalists, we find companies which give a deeper insight into their corporate world – firms which reflect instead of pretending.

They show how they “tick” and give the reader an authentic view of their corporate culture. They tell stories, set store by vibrant, emotional worlds of imagery instead of stylised high gloss images or simple headlines. A firm which communicates in this way makes use of the great opportunity that publication of an annual report provides. An opportunity to show: our door is open. We have something to say about ourselves beyond simple financial reporting. By conveying such openness and transparency, a company appears to be alert, credible, sympathetic and - in the best case - authentic and self-aware. It is precisely that which makes the difference. We, in the jury, were pleased by another trend. Increasingly, companies are coming to recognise that reporting on the previous year is not enough in itself if they wish to grasp the great opportunities held out by an annual report. What do we plan to do in future? For which stars are we reaching? The finest annual reports have turned their attention to those questions and explained their strategy and business model in an understandable way. Some companies are sufficiently self-aware to highlight concrete objectives - to the delight and admiration of some of my jury colleagues.

We also see increasing quality in online annual reporting. The best present a complex digital report, enriched with classical images, animated graphics and well-produced videos - always intelligently networked with other corporate media. We take our hats off to them!

I congratulate all the prize-winning companies. The opportunities which reside in the publication of annual reports are considerable. These companies have used them and better still they have made a significant contribution to ensuring that the annual report remains what it always has been in Switzerland in the past – the royal discipline of corporate communication.

King regards

Hans Peter Nehmer
President of the Annual Report Rating Jury,
Member Head of Corporate Communications Allianz Suisse,
Member of the HarbourClub Executive

Hans Peter Nehmer