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Merck annual report chosen one of the five best in America

The 2005 Merck Annual Report, created by Brandlogic, has been named one of “five great annual reports” in the hands-on practical manual How to Create Your Best Annual Report. Ever. by Patrick R. Williams, Ph.D., a leading corporate communications consultant with Ragan Communications.

In 2005, global pharmaceutical company Merck embarked on a major change of direction. A new CEO had been named and the company was reinventing itself. Brandlogic, which had long been the agency behind the Merck annual report, saw a clear need for the annual report to reflect that shift. The new report should send a clear message to investors that it would no longer be “business as usual” at Merck.

“It was vitally important that we communicate this new direction properly,” said Kathleen Land, senior vice president at Brandlogic. “We hold that a company’s annual report is the CEO’s calling card to the world. A great deal rides on it – especially in the case of the first report issued under new leadership.”

A key element of the change at Merck was the company’s new future strategy, “Plan to Win.” Brandlogic knew that the report had to clearly articulate that strategy. The design devotes over nine pages to the strategy, and makes use of a highly accessible, reader-friendly format that employs concise summaries of key points and highlights of corporate progress.

Dr. Williams lauded the way that the new strategy was featured, calling the Brandlogic approach “A particular strength … the right emphasis. That’s what annual reports should do: Present a compelling case for the future.”

Williams also gave the overall design high marks for readability and presentation, stating that it makes the complex plan more accessible. Credit was given to the balanced photography that embodies the company’s constituents, as well as the good use of color coding and white space to enhance clarity. “This report actually makes you look forward to next year’s,” he wrote.