How do I use culture to encourage investment?

Show how ‘The AO Way’ makes a difference.


We have worked with online retailer AO World since 2014, helping them translate the fun personality of their business into a positive quality investors can perceive in the annual report. The task this year was to tell investors the story of how the business is using its unique culture to expand into Europe.


The 2017 report focuses on the end-to-end customer offer from initial click, to delivery, all the way through to recycling (and everything in-between).

The idea is to show investors what ‘everything in-between’ actually means and to explain how the investments made over the first four years will now drive future value.

Each spread talks about an element of the customer journey from click to delivery and gives real customer feedback on how customers recognise the difference that AO brings.

Investors see how AO has created a seamless experience. Each part of the journey in isolation seems relatively easy for competitors to replicate. It’s only when you put it all together that you see what AO has built.

The final spread describes ‘The AO way’ – the magic ingredient that makes AO stand out. It’s about putting strong values into action and all of the people believing in making the customer happy. Later on in the Report we explain how the ‘AO way’ drives the business model and there is more detail in the ‘letter from the founder’ section and the Chief Executive’s strategic review

As well as using case studies, an ‘At a glance’ section uses the AO visual identity to highlight where the business has developed or where there are still challenges and opportunities.

Corporate governance reporting now explains how the board actively engages in the business and the business model has been adjusted to show inputs and the value creating activities, as well as who benefits. We also ensure that key content is clearly linked and that content now appears in the Report, in city and investor presentations and on the corporate website.


Investors regularly congratulate AO on the clarity and character of its Reports and presentations. AO’s reporting cuts out the jargon and uses the expression of a challenger brand to make a strong business case.


  • Best practice consultancy
  • Key messaging
  • Copy writing
  • Illustration
  • Design
  • Print management