Comvita is the global market leader in Manuka honey and a leading global consumer brand. A series of challenges in recent years saw a reduced focus on core business and this was reflected in their results. A new CEO and a new strategic plan was the start of transforming the business. Following a few runs quick wins, it was time to convince long-patient stakeholders that the new strategy was already delivering a strong turnaround. The annual report provided the perfect opportunity to share Comvita’s transformation journey
We quickly got our head around where Comvita was, their three-phased strategy and the results it would deliver. We resolved that this needed to be a message driven report that was open, direct and accessible in its language and design. We knew we needed to send a strong, bold message to the market about focus, a well-considered strategy and transformational outcomes.
Disarming and honest headlines such as ‘This may sting a little’ set the narrative up to deal with key issues in a very direct way. We recommended a frank long-form Q&A for the CEO and Chair’s sections. These worked well, asking the hard questions stakeholders wanted to know and delivering full and transparent answers.
We used the report’s opening spreads to clearly and succinctly present the three phases of the turnaround strategy and to build belief in Comvita’s ability to deliver transformation. The visual treatment of this section was deliberately differentiated from the rest of the report, providing the engaging storytelling layer and the wayfinding to more details later in the report.
The three-phased strategy also informed the visual execution with each hero image utilising a three layered treatment to reflect the strategy and to reinforce an overall message of focus. A serious colour palette and fine key line infographics and icons offer a sense of structure, consideration and planning.
To support an air of transparency and openness, the typographic treatment is bold, clear and accessible, using a balance of serif and sans serif to create a quality feel aligned with Comvita’s premium positioning.
Layering the content with engaging headlines, callouts, top-line numbers, breakout panels and infographics allows a highly scannable experience, letting users jump in and out as it suits them. These features, along with clear hierarchy and navigation allows the pace of the report to be varied within different pages and sections, further enhancing the reading experience.
Comvita received strong and positive feedback from the team, investors and wider stakeholders. One of the Board members described it as “a huge turnaround on previous reports and the best report Comvita’s ever produced” making this annual report a tangible demonstration of a new strategy delivering transformational results.
As year one of a three year plan, the report set the design platform and theme for the annual reports that followed in the next two years. One example is the print approach. This year’s report was printed in uncoated A4 stock. Over the next two year, both size and stock quality was upweighted to reflect the results and the impact of the strategy.
Over the three years, Comvita has seen both a significant rise in share price and number of shareholders – a testament to the power of well-designed communications.