Aviva’s annual report stood out. From the magazine-style gatefold cover, complete with a picture of customer ‘Anna’ in her yellow raincoat and a signpost to ‘Read Anna’s story on page 4’, it was clear that this was an annual report that lives Aviva’s new global brand promise to put its 34 million customers at the heart of everything it does.
Aviva’s corporate communications team set out to ‘explain simply Aviva’s journey’ and to ‘define’ how it creates value and how that differentiates the insurance group from its peers. They wanted a design that was accessible and engaging, prose that was clear and killed complexity and the ability to showcase Aviva’s business narrative, segmental performance and non-financial initiatives, such as corporate responsibility.
The team first met with internal content providers, such as the governance and remuneration teams, to explain their vision. They also analysed Aviva’s previous annual reports, comparing them against those of peers and award-winning reports and also against external frameworks, such as that of the IIRC.
Aviva had started to use customer stories, across double page spreads, in 2014, but in 2015, the group took this one step further. The report is more visual and portrays the brand in a highly accessible way, carrying this through into some areas of the governance section with question and answer interviews with each committee head. It also carries question and answer interviews with the heads of each business unit, explaining their strategy, progress and plans.
Following the evolution of Aviva’s business model into four broad offerings, the report features customer case studies to emphasise its skills and strengths in these areas. Pull quotes and performance highlights illustrate each section, as well as boxes listing achievements and future plans. Each element is designed to give ‘stakeholders clear line of sight to Aviva’s ambitions’.
The judges were impressed by the level of research Aviva had undertaken before undertaking this report. ‘It is a very clear annual report with demonstrably good links to company values and measurable outcomes,’ they said. Downloads of the corporate responsibility elements, for example, have more than doubled. ‘It was easy to read and very visual.’