August kicks off earnings season for Australia’s corporate sector. This means that investment professionals, individual investors and media commentators will be swamped with traditional, often cumbersome, earnings releases that have changed very little over time in terms of design and format.

Studies show that the human mind can absorb and comprehend a graph or image more easily than a bland array of figures. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely a graphic is worth a thousand numbers. But, like numbers, to communicate effectively a graphic must present fairly the facts under discussion. Graphs and images are useful for understanding the meaning of data and for explaining that meaning to others.

Effective and accurate storytelling remains a crucial part of presenting financial earnings to update and inform stakeholders, but peoples’ eyes can glaze over very quickly with the current form of data delivery.  Visual storytelling is gaining momentum, notably in the northern hemisphere, as companies move towards utilising innovative design with infographics that present essential information in a simple, interesting and easy-to–understand style.

This new reporting technique is something Wall Street has been responding well to, as we usher in a new era of presenting and understanding data.  When done well, these formats are perceived as innovative, credible, trustworthy, easy to read and highly shareable.

It is essential for brokers, investors and reporters to receive fast, easy-to-understand releases to help them share, analyse and discuss key elements of the facts and figures, which serves to help companies get their story seen and heard, accurately.  And importantly, this format is particularly digital and social media friendly.

At the end of the day the goal for companies is to attract and hold attention, provide meaning and context, and inform and persuade.  And it’s always worth exploring new and effective ways of achieving this.