Result: The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s 2007 annual report has won accolades and an international award. This online, multimedia report has been viewed by more than 3,000 people – double the number that received printed annual reports in previous years – and it cost less to produce.
The client’s need: The Blank Family Foundation publishes an annual report each spring to inform its partners, major donors and other constituents about its work helping low-income youth and families. For years, the foundation had produced traditional, printed reports. But when the time came to create the 2007 annual report, budget concerns drove a decision to publish the report exclusively online.
How we did it: A year before, we had produced the Blank Foundation’s 2006 annual report as an online document with a small, print counterpart. The report was mostly presented as text, with a few multimedia components to add interest.
When we were asked to do an online report again for 2007, we knew we could make a more compelling case for the foundation by leading with the multimedia elements and having the text play a much smaller, supporting role. This online report wouldn’t just be an electronic version of a printed booklet. It would give people an entirely different experience.
Our client wanted the annual report to share the stories of individuals whose lives have been touched by the foundation’s efforts. We felt these stories would be most powerful if we let the beneficiaries tell the stories themselves through videos and voice-overs, sometimes without any accompanying text.
Our concept was a departure from what the client had imagined. They had planned to keep things more conventional in layout and structure. “I think there was a concern whether we could really tell a story without providing a lot of text narrative,” says Darrya Lipscomb, who coordinated the project for the foundation. But thanks to our strong relationship built over several years, the client agreed to go in a new direction.
Point of Vision provided creative direction and took photographs. We created multimedia slide shows and edited videos. The result was an engaging, deep annual report which quickly won acclaim from some of the Blank Foundation’s most important constituents, including Arthur Blank himself, who commented simply: “Really well done!” The report also won an ARC Award.
While a printed annual report would have been mailed to 1,500 people, the online report has been viewed by more than 3,000. And it can continue to be viewed in the future without the foundation maintaining a physical inventory.
“The shelf life of what we have done is a lot longer than the one year that you get from a typical annual report,” said Marcy Pett, who managed the project at Point of Vision. Indeed, nine months after the foundation sent out an e-mail announcing the report’s availability, more than 100 people a week continued to visit the site to see it.
In the client’s words: “They challenged us. They had the creativity to blow up the model and come up with something else.”