Capability Building

Take a seat, don’t fall over

Posted on in Capability Building · Design · Imagination

Everyone has to report to someone. Whether it’s your boss, your board, your funders, your shareholders or stakeholders out in the wider world.

Make it magic, rather than a mission. We’ve learned the right way, through years of work with organisations large and small, and it’s not how you would assume.

Joy or pain?

You start out with strategic communications goals, gather information and then design and produce based on those goals. Right?

Wrong. We can teach you the way of reporting with joy, beauty and light. (OK, perhaps a slight exaggeration but we’re saying it anyway.)

Sit on the stool

When you approach reporting, you need to think about a stool. Yes, a stool.

How many legs does a stool need to stand up?  Three, right?  And it doesn’t matter how beautifully you tried to construct a two-legged stool, or how much you sweated over it.

As we mentioned above, one leg is your strategy and the other is your design/production. You still need a third…

Imagination: sit comfortably

Imagination is the essential third leg. It’s not worth sitting down to report without it. Not unless you want the pain and embarrassment of falling on the floor. No one wants that.

You have to start with imagination at three key stages:

  • Vision before strategy – Imagination is what it takes to work out previously unconsidered stakeholder preferences, trends in (business) culture and the like. These are things that can add to and even re-define strategic goals.
  • Amazing data – once you’ve got your goals, you still need imagination to think of unusual ways to get your point across. This must involve alternative approaches to the kinds of data you might use. A lack of unusual thinking here can lead to uninformative, unappealing and unpersuasive reporting.
  • Brilliant creative – now you’ve got your data, you can’t just hand it to a writer and designer (even with a creative brief). You have to think outside the box on how to use it. The main imaginative challenges include what to highlight, what contrasts to draw, how to interpret it, what avenues for further work to suggest and how best to make it work in unity with the design.

Like people who think they never make mistakes, the person who tells you a truly imaginative approach is not necessary is the most dangerous.

Find out how to build a beautiful, comfy communication stool.

Below are some example spreads from reports we’ve delivered for Louis Dreyfus Company and First Love Foundation. We work with these clients the whole way through – from strategy to copywriting to art work.