Annual Reports

New Work: Webster University George Herbert Walker School of Business 2013 Notabene

The George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University has just released the fourth Notabene magazine designed by Falk Harrison. We have worked with Dean Benjamin Ola Akande, Ph.D. since 2009, and each year, Dr. Akande’s request is simple: “This has to be better than last year.”

In 2010, we highlighted the school using the concept of Social Media, featuring a visit by Twitter’s founder Jack (@Jack) Dorsey. Back then, we were at the very beginning of mass acceptance of social media as a business communication tool.

In 2011, we highlighted the new home of the school, the East Academic Building. The building was designed by noted architect Robert A. M. Stern, Dean of the Yale University School of Architecture.

In 2012, we turned our focus to diversity, with a theme of “Inclusive Excellence.” The metaphor of the centennial celebration of the Oreo Cookie paired with an all black-and-white magazine helped us accentuate excellence from an eclectic mix of people from around the globe.

And this year, we share the “Evidence” of The Walker School’s success from every standpoint. Is the 2013 edition the best Notabene yet? The jury is still out, but we wanted to share the evidence with you and let you be the judge.


p.s. Falk Harrison also produced this year’s University Report for Webster University at large.

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New Work: Bi-State Development Agency 2013 State of the Agency Report

Bi-State Development Agency, commonly known in the community as Metro, has been impacting the St. Louis region since 1949. Many think of Metro as the local transit authority, but their true mission is solving regional problems and driving economic development around the two-state region of Greater Metropolitan St. Louis.

For their recent State of the Agency report, Bi-State worked with Falk Harrison to craft a document designed to change the mindset that the Agency is solely responsible for operating the Metro mass transit system. In fact, Bi-State operates as three distinct yet interrelated businesses: Metro Transit, The St. Louis Downtown Airport, and Business Enterprises. Each operation works to achieve the common goal of fueling the growth of the local economy.

The Bi-State/Falk Harrison team chose to place a special supplement in the St. Louis Business Journal. This is the audience directly impacted by Bi-State’s catalytic efforts that yield job creation, residential and commercial development, and economic growth. Our team learned this first-hand by performing hours of research and conducting interviews with key stakeholders of the Agency. The intelligence gathered aided us in developing the strategy and messaging for this year’s annual report. Along the way we learned a great deal about the Agency and the first-class people working hard for our region.

This year’s report is a bold statement, delivering the Agency’s message directly to their key demographic and beginning the journey of solidifying the Agency’s impact on our economy in the eyes of the region’s business and public leaders.

If you didn’t receive your St. Louis Business Journal, you can experience the whole publication for yourself below.

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New Work: Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) 2012 Annual Review

RGA 2012 Annual Report designed by Falk Harrison

Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA) is a leader in the global life reinsurance industry, with approximately $2.9 trillion of life reinsurance in force and assets of $40.4 billion, and serves clients around the world from operations in 25 countries.

RGA, which is recognized for its innovation, client commitment and experience in the world of  insurance and reinsurance, approached Falk Harrison to conceive and design its 2012 Annual Review. With a mandate to create a more-dynamic look and feel to this year’s book,  the RGA/Falk Harrison team worked closely together to develop an Annual Review that highlights RGA’s commitment to “Partnering for Growth.”

A relatively young company compared with some of its global competitors, RGA sought an Annual Review that would  deliver a feeling of dynamism and excitement through the use of color and graphic elements. Life reinsurance, individual living benefits reinsurance and facultative underwriting have seldom before been presented with such energy and flair.

Below are selected spreads from the RGA 2012 Annual Review

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New Work: Webster University 2013 University Report

Founded in 1915, Webster University is a global institution headquartered in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves, MO, and is comprised of campuses in 60 cities across four continents. With 22,000 students and 157,000 alumni spread out across the globe, Webster is the only Tier 1, private, nonprofit university with campus locations around the world. Students from all 50 states and 148 countries call Webster University home.

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Stroble co-leads Webster University with Dr. Julian Schuster as an institution of higher education with global reach. According to the school’s administration, they had not published an annual report or university report for many years. With Webster’s centennial fast approaching in 2015, the school engaged Falk Harrison to produce a university report that presented their unique offering: a global education with local connections, nearly unparalleled diversity, and a bold transformational experience for everyone involved.

The 2013 University Report is an introduction to the global perspective that empowers Webster’s faculty and students. Below are a few spreads that demonstrate how Falk Harrison expressed this vision and perspective in a bold, creative and inspiring way.

Additionally, an online version was created using parallax scrolling.


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The SEC, Regulation Fair Disclosure and Social Media – Some Common Ground

In December 2012, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted a 43-word missive on his personal Facebook feed, congratulating the Netflix team on one billion hours of video viewed in a single month. The Securities and Exchange Commission caught wind of this and warned the company that this status update could be a problem.

Also in 2012, Gene Morphis, CFO of Francesca Holdings, tweeted “Board meeting. Good numbers=happy board.” He was later relieved of duty for “improper communications of company information through social media.”

The SEC previously has held the position that such social media content output is in violation of Regulation Fair Disclosure, or “Reg FD.” They’re interested in investors receiving information at the same time, and have argued that tweeting or posting on one’s Facebook wall is not a disclosure of information that’s readily available to all at the same time.

They have changed their mind, releasing new disclosure rules that seem to allow for commentary on social media. Basically they’re saying “Use these tools if you must, but be sure to tell investors where (Facebook, Twitter?) to expect to hear from you.” This seems reasonable. With the proliferation of social media platforms, what’s to keep a CEO or CFO from disclosing information on one of the more obscure social sites? It is true that most people use the most popular platforms, but this rule makes it really easy to keep investors in the loop.

The impact on our publicly-traded clients should be a positive one – it seems that using Facebook and Twitter just got a bit less thorny.

Read more about it in this New York Times article.

UPDATE: On April 11, 2013, Reed Hastings of Netflix took to Facebook to inform investors (and his Facebook friends and followers) that Netflix users had watched 4 billion hours of programming over the last three months. So he is apparently comfortable with the SEC’s recent ruling.

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