Balanced narrative in a challenging year
Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) is the world’s only independent luxury car group with over 100 years of design and automotive excellence.
Following a landmark year in 2018 that included the Group’s listing on the LSE and its inaugural Annual Report, the 2019 project has seen us report within a different context, a reflection of the recent challenges the Group has faced. With an overarching goal to instil investor and wider stakeholder confidence through clarity and authentic communication, AML have effectively disclosed statutory information as well as the Group’s corporate story over the financial year. The end result culminated in an informative roadmap for the future of the business, and a report that balanced investor expectations with wider stakeholder interests.
Balanced Narrative in a Challenging Year
In what was a disappointing year for the Group, the Annual Report was cited as a key tool to provide clarity and bring authenticity to the Group’s disclosures. The evolutionary approach taken off the back of the 2018 report, would demonstrate consistency and stability when needed most.
A notable section of the report sees the Group CEO Statement take the form of a Q&A, allowing AML to control the narrative around performance and provide a concise and direct insight into key questions regarding liquidity, financing, markets, operations, and the outlook of the Group. Further, KPIs are positioned in the opening pages in order to set up the transparent disclosures throughout the report.
The year had notable achievements including the opening of the St. Athan manufacturing facility and the unveiling of the DBX – the brand’s first SUV. These milestones are addressed as part of the broader narrative concerning the progress of their objectives and the Group’s five pillars of strategy, as realised in the form of thematic spreads. The creative approach taken for these spreads underlines the human aspect of creation and launch within product lifecycles, and highlights the importance of employees at the centre of the Group’s strategy.
At Black Sun, we apply an unyielding collaborative approach that ensures the effective delivery of salient and insightful communications, firmly rooted in our client’s stakeholder context.
Meeting the challenges of reporting in 2019
Alongside the focus on purpose, 2019 brought new reporting challenges for all UK listed businesses in the form of the 2018 Corporate Governance Code, the Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018 and the updated Strategic Report guidance.
One of Black Sun’s core differentiators in the market is our focus on strategic insight, regulatory guidance and our proximity and partnerships with regulators. The was particularly important this year, and teamed with AML’s ambitions for best practice reporting, resulted in communications that move well beyond compliance towards truly embracing the spirit of the regulations. Strategic focus and stakeholder engagement are central themes throughout the Annual Report, along with clear leadership, responsible business disclosures, transparency around performance and risks, and the strategic role of the board and effective governance.
Extending the communications suite
This year, AML approached Black Sun to produce a Sustainability Report, which would take the same creative approach as the Annual Report. This represented an exciting development in our relationship, a testament to the client’s trust in our ability to produce multiple disclosures that embody the creative identity of one of the most prestigious global brands.