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Michael Bird's writing skills appreciated

Published on 21st August 2013

Michael BirdPembrokeshire-based freelance machinery writer Michael Bird, a Member of the Guild, had a key role in producing a global manufacturer’s award-winning Annual Report.

Michael was drafted in by Paul Lay, European communications manager at machinery maker AGCO , and a fellow Member of the Guild, to write the text for the public corporation’s 2012 annual report. In addition to writing the Letter to Shareholders from AGCO’s chairman and CEO, there were sections conveying the corporation’s financials, product and manufacturing facility investments, its sustainability ambitions, and the way AGCO is supporting agricultural growth in developing nations.

“It’s the first time I’ve tackled a job like this and it took a solid two weeks’ work writing to a brief provided by the investor relations team at AGCO’s headquarters in the United States,” says Michael. “It was important to put across key messages and information in a succinct and readable style; I’m pleased that they liked it – I think they appreciated the slightly reserved British style and the fact that the text was not peppered with glowing adjectives, one of the first lessons I learnt as a trainee agricultural journalist 35 years ago.”

Others liked it too, it seems. The publication was entered into a competition run by the League of American Communication Professionals and won a gold medal for its sector. The report was also placed in the top 50 annual reports from American companies in a contest that attracted more than 6000 entries globally, with an overall score was 98 out of 100.

AGCO 2012 Annual ReportOne of the judges commented: “Excellent narrative. The quality of the writing is particularly notable.” Another said: “The Letter to Shareholders presented to readers is exceptional, while the report narrative is outstanding.”

Michael is quick to recognise the contribution made by AGCO’s design team based at the European headquarters offices at Stoneleigh, Warwicks.
“The project was very much design-led to have strong visual impact; the Stoneleigh team deserve a pat on the back for their work,” he says.

The annual report competition judges agreed, saying: “The production values of this work are particularly strong. It’s clear that a lot of time and effort was invested in developing the most polished piece possible as the photography is remarkable; terrific images to help tell this year’s story.”

Another said: “The level of creativity exhibited in the report is outstanding, which is supported by exceptional clarity in communicating this year’s key messages.”

Paul Lay, who has agreed major sponsorship for the Guild’s hosting of the IFAJ Congress 2014 in Scotland next year, as well as making available audio-visual resources for the event, congratulated Michael “on the exceptional job and contribution that you made to the production of the 2012 AGCO Annual Report.”

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