By 2011 Blackwood had already produced special one-off reports for the EBRD so when the time came to produce their annual Transition Report, it was Blackwood who they turned to in order to produce full – 180 page – printed English and Russian versions for launch at various Europe-wide events. The client has always been keen to push boundaries, and throughout our time working on their Transition Reports, we’ve worked with that idea at the core of our brief.
From the outset of our work with the EBRD we were keen to show the client the benefits of using other communication channels to tell their stories and share their data with audiences in different countries and territories. The trusting relationship we developed with the Bank meant that, in 2012, they provided us with the budget to do a test microsite so we were able to give them a taste of what they could do with digital. They immediately saw the benefits, so, in 2013 we began creating online reports (alongside the printed formats) so they could begin to engage with new audiences and share their findings across Europe and internationally.
Perhaps the key deciding factor in the EBRD’s move to the digital space has been the use of Highcharts: interactive charting software that reproduces mathematically accurate charts that can be tailored by each user to show the information they want. The integrity of the data is fully maintained: Highcharts simply helps to make it more accessible. Seeing the benefits of this tool created a ‘wow’ moment for the client, leading them to become enthusiastic adopters of digital formats in their corporate reporting.
The latest Transition Reports that we’ve produced for the EBRD have been fully integrated print and digital campaigns. We’ve designed and built dual-language microsites in English and Russian, optimised for viewing on mobile devices. Interactive data charts and maps bring the content to life and bookmarking functions enable users to navigate their way around the content and come back to particular areas of interest. Social media sharing buttons, and exclusive online-only video content, help to enhance the user experience.
Digital Channel Analysis
We continue to produce a full range of complementary assets alongside the microsite, including a 120 page printed report. We also produce selected Russian pdf downloads and a promotional HTML email campaign. Event posters, banners and PowerPoint presentations are produced for the report’s global press launch and roadshows.
Communication channels are constantly evolving, and the EBRD has always been open to exploring new avenues to create impact and reach a wider audience. With animation becoming an increasingly cost effective and popular option with clients, we were keen to recommend it for the Transition Report 2016-17. The report is always launched at an event, and we felt that an animation would be the perfect way of unveiling it and explaining its key messages. This was an area that the EBRD had been exploring internally so the timing was perfect.
The animation we created for the EBRD Transition Report was stitched into a video that the in-house team was creating, and formed most of the two minutes of content. Created over the course of ten days, it replaced the printed digest created for previous Transition Reports. As well as being used at the report’s launch, it sits on the home page of the 2016-17 microsite and has the potential to be shared across social media.
Cost reductions and audience gain
Our approach to the EBRD’s Transition Report demonstrates how we continually collaborate with clients to enhance and develop their communications and brands.
Reducing the print pagination and print run means that the Transition Report has been a highly cost-effective campaign: the cost per reader has dropped by 64% and the EBRD has seen a total cost reduction of 7.5%. While the budget is being used more efficiently, the campaign activities and digital approach mean that the report is reaching a wider, global audience. In fact, the report has seen an audience gain of 160%.
This has only been possible due to the trusting relationship that Blackwood has developed with the EBRD, helping us to understand their needs, appetites and ambitions. Using our expertise and the latest software tools we’ve created a dynamic, authoritative yet user-friendly online platform for the Bank, enabling the EBRD to better communicate, challenge and cooperate with European and global stakeholders on economic development.
The impressive results are testament to the EBRD’s confidence in Blackwood, which gave us the flexibility to pursue new ideas and break new ground.