WPP Annual Report

Creative transformation

IN BRIEF

WPP is a creative transformation company. Its purpose is to use the power of creativity to build better futures for its people, clients and communities.  

To reflect the creative transformation spirit of WPP, the annual report sets a new benchmark in corporate communications. In 2018, it was completely reimagined in terms of structure, content and design to tell the story of WPP's success in a new, inspiring way, and to ensure that critical investor information was accessible, clear and engaging not only to an investor audience, but also to WPP's wider stakeholder audiences. 

WHAT WE DID

As 2019 marked the first year of a new, radically evolved, three-year growth strategy for WPP, the report needed to bring to life the progress made and showcase the key achievements of the business. It also needed to show how its sustainability strategy aligns with all five elements of its corporate strategy, through campaigns for clients, pro bono work and the management of its own operations. 

The main challenge for the report from a content perspective in 2019 was to demonstrate the impact of the progress against the corporate and sustainability strategies. As the report was being finalised, a subsequent, and much greater challenge emerged in the form of a global pandemic, Covid-19. The risks and uncertainties that this brought with it needed to be addressed in the narrative without over-shadowing everything else. Not an easy balance to strike. 

And from a design perspective, the 2019 report needed to demonstrate how the company had evolved culturally and to feature a more human element of the business and bring the brand to life by integrating its people alongside it - showing the creative, collaborative culture of WPP in action.  

Progress is demonstrated for each element of the strategy; an example being WPP's renewed commitment to creativity, its most important competitive advantage. This was achieved by listing key achievements such as the recruitment of high profile creative leaders, a strong performance at Cannes Lions and a continued demonstration of creative firepower with four spots at Super Bowl 2020. A series of award-winning case studies focused on how WPP agencies used the power of creativity to deliver not only tangible results for clients, but societal change. 

The colourful 'living art' visuals were created as part of an interactive activation during the year. They were inspired by the brand identity and perfectly encapsulated the idea of literally 'living the brand'. They were used for the cover and as dividers to provide a bold visual introduction to each new section. Client work is featured throughout to demonstrate the depth of creativity, expertise and talent within WPP - all of which help to achieve WPP's vision "to be a creative transformation company".