Stylized Notice & Proxies: Haute Publishing in the Financial Print Industry

David Pulle

David Pulle

December 1, 2022

It is becoming increasingly clear that investors expect company proxy statements to go beyond staid SEC 14-A disclosures. An investor survey by RRD, Stanford University, and Equilar revealed that 55% of investors believed that a typical proxy statement was too long while 48% said that a typical proxy was difficult to read and understand. They wanted proxies to be shorter and written in simpler language, in which information is highlighted for quicker understanding.

Responding to changing investor expectations, businesses are leveraging creative design to provide comprehensible and attractive proxy statements for greater:

  • Brand value: The proxy statement is a powerful communication tool to convey your brand narrative to shareholders, shape their perceptions, build loyalty, and influence decisions.
  • Exclusiveness: Composed with the right style guide, a proxy statement can highlight the organization’s financial performance and achievements so that it stands out in a crowd.
  • Participation in shareholder voting: Shareholders are increasingly turning to proxy statements to make more informed voting and investment decisions. The proxy statement therefore needs to be designed to present key data in an engaging manner.

Styling Proxy Statements for Greater Engagement

Proxy statements are undergoing a great evolution both in composition and design. Businesses are achieving simpler and better stylized proxy statements by utilizing:

  • Layouts and designs: Radically different from boring traditional registration and compliance documents, these are helping proxies become more impactful for investors.
  • Creatives: Well-designed charts with easy-to-read legends, callouts, and sidebars to highlight key points, tables, or graphs to summarize details, and compensation disclosure tables are some common style elements. High-quality headshots, a well-written bio, or Board Committee skill grids can be used to personalize a company’s director nominees. The visual appeal of Notices is also changing by including voting instructions to encourage participation and highlighting a call-to-action for e-delivery of proxy materials.
  • Attractive covers: The document covers are used to showcase company branding. Effective front and back covers include the company logo in color and images that align with the brand ethos.
  • Interactive and platform-adaptable documents: Interactive proxy statements are changing the way companies tell their stories. Stylized for web browsing, these proxies make it easier for shareholders to access information and voting platforms. Embedded videos and graphics add another dimension to branding and engagement, while the advanced user interface improves user experiences.
  • Compliance with accessibility norms: Making proxy statements accessible is key to reaching out to all stakeholders regardless of their ability. Streamlining accessibility is empowering physically challenged investors to increase voter participation and make the right decisions.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): AR helps in deciphering hard-to-process 2D information while enhancing human decision-making. Organizations are experimenting with QR codes and AR in strategic communications like proxy statements to help investors absorb and process information faster.

Businesses are realizing that good design enhances communication value and are seeking solutions from transformation partners to stay ahead of the curve. With the right skillset, knowledge of SEC requirements, customized solutions, and cutting-edge compositions, these design experts can help you create notices and proxy statements that stand out, relay a compelling company story, connect with shareholders, and make complex policies easy to understand.

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