From real life - for real life

A look behind the scenes

The who, where and why behind the Annual Report

Last year, an individual was the central focus of B. Braun's Annual Report for the first time: Ole, a family man from Bavaria. This year, it's Xiaoqian, a young woman from Shanghai. The concept behind this? Authenticity! "The idea behind our Annual Report is following a person through their everyday life. We allow them to speak through memories, anecdotes and images from their life – both of everyday moments, as well as major events and important milestones," says Dr. Bernadette Tillmanns-Estorf, Director of Corporate Communications and Corporate Human Resources.

No imaginary figures who float through their storybook lives  

It is a courageous approach, when one considers that an Annual Report traditionally deals particularly with facts, numbers and financial results. B. Braun deliberately avoids limiting itself to this, because: "The core of our corporate activity always relates to people, their lives and their health," says Holger Minning, Head of Corporate Publishing. That's why the Annual Report doesn't portray any imaginary figures who float through their storybook lives on cloud nine, but real personalities instead, who experience highs and lows, suffer losses and overcome illnesses – whether their own or those of people close to them.  

The focus is always on health and the value of life, though without avoiding the topic of illness. "The goal is to understand exactly where B. Braun actually makes a difference, and what it means in concrete terms to protect and improve people's health and lives," says Nina Skrzyszowski, Project Manager in Corporate Publishing.

We knew that Ole's successor would not have it easy

But how do you find a person who is willing to allow such personal and authentic insights into their life? "No question, it has to be someone who is not only open and approachable, but also self-assured about their career and prepared to talk about it," says Holger Minning. 

Ole brought all of these prerequisites to the table and set the bar very high, not in the least due to his cordial and straightforward personality. "It was clear to us that his successor would not have it easy," says Minning. As a result of the overall concept, which will be in place for at least three years, the team also knew from the beginning that the 2016 Annual Report would feature a young woman from Shanghai. This naturally created some logistical challenges: coordination had to be ensured between Melsungen and Shanghai, as well as all internal and external project participants – agents, photographer, video team and not least the colleagues from Marketing and Product Management, as well as the scientific and legal departments. All of this had to be synchronized within a tight schedule that left no room for delays. After all, the date for the annual financial results press conference - the publication date of the Annual Report - is non-negotiable. 

Always on task – despite the cold, time constraints and double-overtime

"To be honest, at the start of the project I imagined it would be easier to create a protagonist from scratch than to find someone in the giant metropolis of Shanghai whose personality, attitude and values were truly a match for B. Braun and who would bring the relevant subject matter to the table," remembers Nina Skrzyszowski. And Holger Minning adds: "Finding someone like Xiaoqian, who was willing to provide insight into her life in such a charming and natural way, is anything but a given, and far exceeded my own expectations. Just as it was the case last year with Ole, she was fantastic to work with. She was always cheerful and on task. Despite the cold, time constraints and double-overtime, through photo shoots and filming. Confident and professional – and an authentic person through it all.The benchmarks for next year's protagonist continue to remain high," says Holger Minning. 

Where he or she will live remains strictly confidential, however – even if preparations are already underway. After all, the team lives by the slogan: After the Annual Report is before the Annual Report. Nevertheless, there was celebration after the publication. Namely, with two people who couldn't be closer to the Annual Report, and who came to Melsungen specifically for the occasion. One from Bavaria, the other from Shanghai.

Teamwork: (from left to right) Holger Minning and Nina Skrzyszowski (Corporate Publishing) with the protagonists of the Annual Reports, Ole and Xiaoqian, along with her partner Bill.