Merck lets itself down with a poorly structured report, in stark contrast to its website and the compelling story crying to be told about its performance
Merck’s multi-layered corporate responsibility (CR) microsite is a commendable example of an engaging website. Kitted out with easy navigation tools, the site covers everything you need to know, from the company’s overall approach to CR to content on specific issues such as access to health, environment and employees. Each sub-section is so vast and informative, it’s easy to see that this life sciences, performance materials and pharmaceuticals company is serious about being a responsible business.
But Merck’s 198-page 2014 CR report is a different story. Compared to the sleekness and ease of access of the website, this PDF feels like a heavy brick in your browser and something of an afterthought to the website.
While websites are designed so readers can hop between each section as they choose, a PDF report is a linear document. You need to have read the previous page to understand the next and so on. Merck’s report largely fails to deliver this linear readability. Yes, it covers the big achievements and includes extensive data, but it lacks a clear narrative to help the reader understand the company’s story from the year.
It begins with a company profile that showcases the global scope of the business but makes...