Research & Content

Dickenson prides itself in being highly adept and capable when it comes to researching and authoring annual reports. With more than 15 analysts in our team covering a wide spectrum of industries, and unfettered access to our in-house Bloomberg and Factset terminals, we are amongst the most sought after annual report producers in the business. We realise that when written well, an annual report need not just be a historical reporting document, but also a highly engaging and opinion shaping tool. With decades of experience within the leadership team handling this practice, you can be sure you’re in safe hands when it comes to writing your annual report.


Positioning & Messaging

Annual Reports are increasingly becoming one of the most important platform for narrating your Company’s story for Investors, Employees and Partners. Controlled by regulation and defined codes of do’s and dont’s, it is the one key document that every one reads to search the truth about your company. Apart from containing the historical data on the previous year’s financial results, your report can also contain a rich “front-end”, where the management has substantial freedom to tell the business story through narrative reporting. Dickenson believes that an Annual Report should be purposeful and help move the needle in favour of a better perception within the marketplace. This means that before crafting the content plan of the report, Dickenson takes great pains to understand the need of the hour requirements in terms of investor relations communication objectives, and ensures that the key messaging is embedded within the various sections of the report. We also define the key additional KPIs, over and above the obvious ones, that could be used to strengthen our positioning. Sometimes, we carry out quick dip-stick surveys on understanding why a company might be undervalued compared to its peers. We conduct multiple interviews across the various levels of the organisation structure of the company, to get both the big picture and the granular. Once completed, this exercise allows us to define the key positioning and messaging that is most appropriate for the company at that given time. Many times we author special feature stories, that appear in the front-end, to drive home the point that our positioning audit tells us. At the end of this process, you get a highly rich and purposeful annual report that has a positive impact on its readers.


Messages & Letters

Dickenson excels in authoring the letters and messages from the Chairman, the Managing Director and from the Chief Financial Officer. To do this successfully, we develop an intimate knowledge of the company and define the talking points for each person featuring within the report. This can involve multiple interviews and usually takes shape as the final deliverable after all the rest of the report content is completed. Dickenson takes into account the personality of the person, and adapts the message to suit the style of the individual. We ensure that we maintain the right tone of voice, and use crisp and meaningful expressions that are informal and empathetic. Most importantly, we ensure that the letters carry the key take-home message that the management wishes to convey.


Focus Stories & Case Studies

In the front-end section of an Annual Report, one can use many methods to convey the key messages defined by the positioning audit process. A key way to do this is to add feature stories that are sharp, incisive and focuses in making an important point succinctly and cleverly. This can also be supported by strong visual supports and infographics, and be designed in a way that is unforgettable to the reader. Dickenson also believes in the use of detailed case-studies that can be made to substantiate a point and connect the reader to the real world. These too can be visually appealing, ensuring the take-home message sinks in fast and clearly. Dickenson goes to great lengths towards enriching the reading experience of the Annual Report.


MD&A Drafting

The annual report of any listed company contains a separate section by the name of ‘Management Discussion and Analysis’ (MD&A). The MD&A-section includes various topics including Macro-Economic Performance of the industry, the Company’s Vision and Strategy and some key financial indicators and their rationale. As an investor, that is very insightful information provided by a company to co-relate macroeconomic parameters and the performance of the company in light of them. The section containing Management Discussion and Analysis is included in companies’ annual reports in addition to a similar section analysing the company’s performance and decoding the financial ratios and various indicators for the investors. Dickenson utilises a variety of sources to construct the MD&A. With subscriptions to Bloomberg and Factset, our analysts have access to thousands of company and sector coverage reports along with peer comparisons. Our analysis of the company’s performance is in-depth and crisp. We carefully cover all the regulatory required disclosure points and ensure that forward looking statements are avoided as much as possible. An MD&A prepared by Dickenson is well balanced in terms of detail and context, and written using everyday vocabulary and expressions that any lay-person can understand.


Integrated Reporting

Integrated reporting is a concept that has been created to better articulate the broader range of measures that contribute to long-term value and the role organisations play in society. Central to this is the proposition that value is increasingly shaped by factors additional to financial performance, such as reliance on the environment, social reputation, human capital skills and others. This value creation concept is the backbone of integrated reporting and, we believe, is the direction for the future of corporate reporting. In addition to financial capital, integrated reporting examines five additional capitals that should guide an organisation’s decision-making and long-term success — its value creation in the broadest sense. An organization that communicates its strategy to the market and quantifies this broader contribution may well be stimulating value creation in itself. However, to increase stakeholder confidence the information must be credible. Dickenson knows this well, and acknowledges that it takes great acumen and thought to put a good integrated report together. We take enormous care in articulating your business model; in how we define your mission and vision, and the external factors that shape your business model; in how the various capitals contribute to the value creation strategy – including financial, natural, social, relationship, intellectual, human and manufactured capital. We ensure that your strategy is substantiated by key performance indicators, and how you manage your risks and opportunities.