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A personal annual letter is better than a holiday card


Every year companies send generic holiday cards. “Generic” meaning they neither impress nor inspire. What if this generic card was replaced with an annual letter?

I imagine the letter would:
  1. Be personal. It would address a person, not just to get their attention, but to emphasize organizations are people. Ideally, it would have a personal message written by hand after the signature. Tip: use blue ink.
  2. Look back to look forward. There is so much noise, so what is your red thread? What can you make out of your social media posts throughout the year, and how do these posts (or dots as Steve Jobs said in his famous graduation speech) connect? What were your highlights from the year that passed? Bringing these questions together to what you personally care about will leave the readers thinking after they finish the letter.
  3. Share insights and trends that you have observed. This time of the year we are all trying to make sense of the events that occurred in the year that passed and we try to predict the future. What insights can you share about your industry or trends that you have observed in conversations with people throughout the year?
  4. Focus on the reader. Ensure that your call to action focuses on the reader. What do you want the reader to do after having read the letter?
  5. Sign as a team. If you are a team working on one client, get the team to sign the card or letter with you. A bouquet of signatures reflects the true holiday spirit: goodwill to all, from all.

If you need inspiration to embark on the work of writing an annual letter for the first time, I recommend that you read Mark Zuckerberg’s 6,000 word letter to the communityElon Musk’s manifestos and Bill and Melinda Gates’ annual letters. And if you need help with writing your annual letter or want to find out more about the best brand awareness strategies, get in touch and we can help you develop the story, write the text and design it so that it is treasured rather than trashed.

Ingrid Helsingen Warner

Senior Advisor, International Communications, based in Oslo

Ingrid is currently on maternity leave. At Leidar she supports internationally-minded leaders and companies with their positioning and thought leadership activities.

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