GE’s “Integrated Summary Report” is a superb example of both IR transparency and a really, really big IR budget

There’s no question that the investor relations team at GE is creative, future thinking and well-funded. That is the very DNA of GE, I suppose.

GECOVERTheir new “Integrated Summary Report” is excellent. Read it here. GE took it upon themselves, being self-aware that they are a ridiculously complex organization, to create this Edward Tufte-esque (Google him) document that… oh, let’s just read what their CEO wrote:      

“Public company reporting has become so complicated that what matters to investors can get lost,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “Our priority is to provide meaningful information that all investors can readily access. For investors to make investment and voting decisions, we don’t believe that more information is necessarily better. Instead, we’ve challenged ourselves to provide better information.”

What’s key to appreciate is that this is not a required document, although most of the information inside it is. It’s a graphical and accessible version of three separate documents: 2015 annual report, the proxy statement and their sustainability report. It is an additional publication to their summary 10-K report, which is yet another non-required research tool. The IR team recognizes that even though the SEC may not require this level of transparency, their shareholders do.

What to do about transparency if your budget is not so “really, really big”

Interactive Annual Reports bring your already-designed annual report into a more digital “realm” for shareholders that want a digital research experience beyond scrolling a PDF. Here is an example as well as here.  Both are created directly from a company’s PDF.

As you’ll see, it has many tools and shortcuts to content, has graphical appeal and – importantly for IR, it is very easy to set-up and budget benign. This WILL fit in any budget. Click here to get a quote based on your 2014 annual report (you will upload your 2014 PDF).

Oh… not that they asked, but I do have a tip for GE when they produce next year’s “Integrated Summary Report.” Ask your art director to turn the creative canvas to landscape format (11 x 8.5)  juxtaposed to portrait (8.5 x 11). The horizontal PDF will fit our PC screens better and uses the same amount of pixels and paper.

PS: call me when it’s time to print.

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