In an increasingly digital world, companies reporting on their progress toward sustainability are starting to turn toward electronic delivery. While such moves make business sense, they come with a new set of challenges.
Computer chipmaker AMD has reported on corporate responsibility for 17 years. This year, it reached out to Caliber Creative and challenged us to rethink the delivery method for its latest report and capitalize on the best communication technology trends. In essence, AMD wanted to create an app for its Corporate Responsibility Report.
How we did this provides a template other companies can draw from when turning their own CRRs into mobile-friendly products.
First, Caliber and AMD identified the project objectives and goals for both the print and interactive formats of the report. Proper planning, a realistic timeline and well-defined deliverables are the keys to success.
Next, the team gained alignment regarding the interactive form of the report: an iPad application. As soon as this was determined, we applied for developer status with publishing software and digital media outlets, such as iTunes.
Third, the team began to gather and finalize the hard-copy corporate responsibility report content, similar to the way it was done in the past. At this stage, we hired a professional writer to help. By approaching the content from a layperson’s perspective, the writer was able to present AMD’s corporate responsibility efforts -- which can be somewhat esoteric to a general audience -- in approachable, easily understood language. Simultaneously, the team designed the report, ensuring that the key messages and themes were captured stylistically. It was important to engage AMD’s branding representatives early on for this portion of the work.
Once the report was in place, the team took a fourth step, condensing the report into a 24-page summary. This summary still delivers an overall picture of performance at AMD, but by comparison, is 75 percent shorter in length than the previous year’s report.
After the design was complete, we focused on step five: programming the companion apps for both Apple (iOS) and Android operating systems. Each format of the content (html, iOS, Android) required custom manipulation and back-end (html) or tablet app development to ensure that both forms utilized the interactive features on both operating systems.
Next page: Updating the app throughout the year
When developing tablet apps, be sure to select digital publishing software such as Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite that integrates well with the designer’s software. We allocated a minimum of one month to develop, test, and publish the app, but in the future, will consider a longer timeframe. For example, Apple requires a minimum of five business days to review and post an iOS app and any subsequent updates. But it took significantly longer to work through the approvals needed to post the iOS app on the Apple iTunes store.
Then the team moved to step six: establishing a routine maintenance plan to update the app throughout the year.
It is important to note that because Corporate Responsibility analysts require detailed information for their reporting needs, AMD took yet another step. In its seventh and final phase, it also published its full-length, 100+ page report and posted it to its website as a downloadable file. By publishing all three versions, AMD has sought to engage the broadest possible audience with the lowest environmental impact.
The move toward mobile communication is imminent, and the tools for building apps and digital documents will only get easier as more companies begin adapting to this model of corporate responsibility reporting. As companies consider transforming their reporting methods, it is important to recognize the benefits as well as the challenges. For example, an effective interactive report should include consistent updates to content, which can be challenging to maintain.
Identifying the appropriate, available staff and creating a calendar of regular content to upload will ensure a seamless process. AMD, for example, publishes quarterly corporate responsibility updates and can use portions of these quarterly updates to update content available via the Corporate Responsibility report app.
Additionally, it is recommended that companies identify their preferred tablet operating system (Apple, Android, etc.) and online delivery store (iTunes, GooglePlay, etc.) early on in the process and sign up for developer status at the beginning of the process.To do so, companies will need to consider gaining developer status with channels such as iTunes, listing the proper author of the app and syncing up the distribution of a print piece with the published tablet apps or website launch.
Tablet-ready corporate responsibility reports represent the cutting edge of innovation in corporate responsibility reporting. This format delivers dynamic, easily digestible content that can be updated at any time.
You can find AMD’s new corporate responsibility report, summary, and tablet apps at http://www.amd.com/us/aboutamd/corporate-information/corporate-responsibility/Pages/information.aspx.