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Taking annual reports digital in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic

Aerial View of Halifax Skyline

For nearly a decade the Halifax Partnership has been producing the Halifax Index—the city’s most comprehensive source of economic data. The Index measures Halifax’s growth across a range of key indicators, providing analysis on what’s required to achieve better results. The Index is a cornerstone tool referenced by policymakers, investors and business leaders across the city to chart Halifax’s economic performance. The Index was traditionally presented in a 60-page hard copy and electronic PDF format, shared with key stakeholders and investors. After completing an overhaul of the economic development organization’s corporate website, NATIONAL and Halifax Partnership recognized the opportunity for digital transformation of the Index report in 2020.

Leveraging our team’s expertise in user experience web design and data storytelling, we collaborated closely with the Halifax Partnership team to bring to life a flexible tool to best showcase the data online and communicate a great deal of information that would evolve over time—something that became even more important when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

While Halifax saw record growth and prosperity in 2019—making it a banner year—the 2020 Index needed to account for these successes, while acknowledging the impacts of COVID-19. The shift to a digital Index not only allowed for oversight on traffic and demand, but the ability to modify content as needed to adapt to a shifting landscape.

While this project had a strong focus on digital, it was also an integrated effort with our creative team to develop a design concept that could tell the multifaceted story of the Index—economic prosperity and the impacts of the COVID-19 in the same breath.

Adapting the Index to a digital environment also provided Halifax Partnership with the ability to measure engagement and make informed decisions around content and features for future Index reports. Furthermore, the digital format enabled sharing and amplifying of specific content across channels linking to relevant content that can be targeted to different audiences, supporting integrated marketing efforts.

The Halifax Partnership’s Annual Index report was launched in June 2020, with over 300 attendees tuning into a live Zoom presentation to walk through the data and subsequent 1,225 of users visiting the website and engaging with the content in the first three months.

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