Winners in the overall ranking

Tribute to 3rd place
Bernhard Schweizer, a partner at Sensus Communication Consultants and Programme Director for the Bachelor of Science in Business Communications at the HWZ Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration

The final jury was impressed by a new name, which it voted into third place: Implenia. The company had already impressed the design jury last year with both its online and printed version. The company that ranked fourth just a year ago rose to second place in the design rankings. But it was in value reporting were Implenia made an even bigger leap: both online and in print, Implenia managed to climb around half the rankings table and finished in 39th position. It is by no means at the top, but put in a more than solid performance that saw it make the top 12.

Implenia’s reporting package delighted the jury across the board: formal praise was given to the report's compact and easy-to-handle A5 format, as well as its easily accessible layout and integrated design concept. The content impressed the judges with its consistently clear language, clear presentation of vision, company values and business model, the well-proportioned annual report (in the literal sense) with its multiple yet non-repetitive approaches involving letters, interviews, reports and separate division, subject and stakeholder reports.

Implenia especially gained a lot of ground in value reporting. Compilers of reports should take a look at Implenia’s online annual report. It is possible to achieve clear presentation without excessive scrolling. The 5-year overview as an Excel spreadsheet is a simple, welcome and very useful solution. In contrast, the effect of the figures adding themselves up before your eyes is just a visual gimmick. Offline, the clearly edited financial section with its detailed information was appealing as a working tool from the perspective of financial analysis.

In a close-run race to lead the rankings, there were inevitably also controversies in the final discussion. The jury wanted to be transparent here too. The editing of the focus reports is appealing and they give the layperson a gripping insight into Implenia’s activities. They were enjoyable in themselves. However, they also made for a heavier annual report – some members of the jury said it was “too thick”. Particularly in a financial year where not everything went well, nothing should be hidden behind creative storytelling. This discussion therefore raised the question of whether a report actually presents the financial year clearly, truthfully and completely if dominant issues of that year, such as the risk adjustments made and Zurich’s Letzigrund stadium dispute, are only really dealt with in the notes for the financial section. Has the successful reporting style resulted in a shift of viewpoint, thereby painting too rosy a picture of the year? Let us stay for a moment on the subject of pictures and consider the use of colour and photographs: the orange of the frequently depicted industrial safety clothing and the dominant colour of the design could almost certainly have been adjusted for greater subtlety. The shades are little too strident at times.

All the judges liked the friendly photographs of the senior management team. However, this also raised a question: what is subconsciously being said about a company’s corporate governance in practice when the board of directors and its chairman, as the actual people presenting the report to shareholders, have such a small photograph which only appears in the middle of the printed report, whereas the management is pictured at the front and in a larger format?

Allow me to conclude with my own personal view: What should I as the reader make of a statement apropos of nothing much at all, such as “Turnover CHF 3859 million”? So provide a figure by way of comparison or leave it out.

All in all, Implenia has taken an enormous step forward with its annual report. Our sincere congratulations to the communications team for the company’s much deserved leap onto the podium!