TUESDAY 21 NOV 2023 10:28 AM


Gather London's director of digital, Sarah Wood, describes how the agency's work for water firm Aliaxis has moved digital reporting away from storytelling and towards ‘story-showing’.

“It has never been more essential for a company to have a consistent voice, a clear and actionable purpose, a coherent strategy, and a long-term view. Your company’s purpose is its north star in this tumultuous environment.” - Larry Fink CEO BlackRock.

Although ‘purpose’ is not the solution to everything, it is the direction of travel and, as Larry Fink has commented, it does provide a focal point through which businesses can deliver.

At Gather, we wanted to better understand what the characteristics of a purpose-led business were, and then to explore how digital techniques could be harnessed to create richer, more authentic and credible narratives when a business reports. 

Our findings created three focus areas that we now use on all of our reporting projects, including our groundbreaking work for Aliaxis.

1. Connect and impact: show purpose delivers business growth and impacts society and the planet 

Aliaxis is a global provider of pipes that supply water and renewable energies to building, industry, agriculture and infrastructure. We were keen to build on their manufacturing heritage by showing how their purpose has mobilised them to find solutions for the five biggest water-based challenges facing the world.

The report we created tackles each challenge head-on with a dedicated film, delivered by a member of the Aliaxis leadership team. Each film explains their approach, activities and progress made. A creative ‘frame-in-frame’ device further reinforced the connection idea by pairing the external world with Aliaxis.

Each film is backed up by case studies clearly linking purpose, to action and ultimately impact. The result of the digital experience we created for Aliaxis was that their purpose became more tangible, immersive and engaging.

2. Mobilise and embed: show how the business is moving in step with its purpose

The extent to which colleagues across organisations are empowered and celebrated for their contributions is a key indicator of a truly embedded purpose. Within the Aliaxis annual report we used video testimonials to demonstrate how a purpose-led culture is embedded in day-to-day operations. 

Aliaxis also increased advocacy of its work and purpose through live footage of stakeholder opinion, expert external perspectives and testimonials.

3. Innovate and reimagine: evidence purpose-led innovation and systems change and the value it creates

Business innovations are often cross-divisional and complex. The linear formats of printed reports can sometimes struggle to knit everything together, making the value the innovations create harder to grasp.

For Aliaxis we utilised menu structures and cross-linking to ensure this aspect of their story is clear. Future-focused innovation was further illustrated through a series of videos depicting their potential to create positive change.

This also allowed us to evidence ‘purpose in action’. Moving from ‘storytelling’ to ‘story-showing’ deepens understanding and authenticity which in turn helps companies better manage perceptions, trust and reputation.

At Gather, we believe the opportunities for digital reporting are vast, rich, and constantly evolving and that communicators are yet to realise their full value and potential. We are excited about where the next projects may take us.