5 Questions with Doshia Stewart: Innovation in Annual Reports

DUBLIN (Apr. 29, 2016) – Doshia Stewart, Director of Corporate Brand & Marketing, opens up about Allegion's 2015 Annual Report. From start to finish, she describes the thought process and journey it took to create this piece.

Doshia Stewart opens up about Allegion's 2015 Annual Report

Allegion’s 2015 Annual Report was just released. What will we see this year?

You’ll see something very different from us, both in form and function. We started with three goals: extend the usefulness of the report; engage readers; and reflect a modern, fresh company.

In printed form, the 2015 Annual Report is a standalone 12-page magazine, accompanied by a letter from our CEO. This is a change from last year in that the Annual Report is now separate from the 10-K and proxy components. This new format extends its utility and allows us to leverage it as a marketing piece with a longer shelf life. Infographics pull readers into stories and highlight our results at a glance. And the design, spot-varnish finish and digital components are anything but stuffy.

Can Allegion really tell its story in 12 pages?

The adage, “Less is more” served as our North Star. In the first spread, you see our strategy and progress toward the Five Growth Pillars. While it was difficult to pare the copy to less than 200 words per pillar, it forced us to think about every word and get to the point.

Digital comes into play to extend the story and continue engagement throughout 2016. We will leverage the content in corporate social media, and the online version allows the reader to access additional content about our company and products. For those who want the extended edition, a PDF of the combined report is available online.

This approach reflects a company with a focused strategy and a culture that is innovative, forthright and accessible.

What prompted the change?

Honestly, we were halfway through last year’s report looking at the 100+ pages of good content that few people will read beginning to end, and I thought, “There has to be a better way. Allegion is a different kind of company. Why can’t we just tell our story in a direct way?”

The leaders we work with are very open to change and new ideas – it’s inspiring.

Is this a new trend?

Annual reports are now equal parts marketing, employee and investor communications. There are more infographics to share data at a glance, and some have reduced the pages of the narrative to the 12-30 page range (minus the 10-k).  In our industry, we will be leading the way in telling a crisp and engaging story.

What’s your advice for someone wanting to change the traditional way of communicating?

  1. Step back and look at who uses the piece, how they consume information in other areas of their life, the purpose of the communication and the brand personality. Allegion is innovative in a fairly conservative business; having a fresh approach to our annual report makes sense.
  2. Look at trends, competitors and innovations outside the industry. Can you not only capitalize on trends, but lead the way?
  3. Socialize the idea and pressure test it. 
  4. Tell your story, clearly and simply. The props should reinforce your key findings, not make the case for you.
  5. Be practical. A piece that is lovely but sits on a shelf has little utility.

Brand & Marketing:
Doshia Stewart - Director, Corporate Brand & Marketing

Maria Pia Tamburri - Director, Public Affairs

Tom Martineau - Director, Investor Relations

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