Congratulations! Your company has a big birthday coming up. Celebrating 25, 50 or even 100 years in business is a big deal (check out this list of public companies that have seen a full century go by – it’s impressive!). A company anniversary is also a key marketing opportunity. It’s a newsworthy opportunity to broadcast whatever makes your firm special – your culture, your achievements or your people. Here’s how to make this anniversary memorable – no matter what the number.
First, Let’s Brainstorm
What would be the appropriate celebration for this company anniversary? What suits your corporate personality? More importantly, what is the strategic business goal that you’re looking to achieve? Some companies want to celebrate the culture and achievements of their staff. Others want to use it as a outreach to customers and stakeholders to encourage closer relationship. Finally, it could be about celebrating the achievements of a visionary founder, or paying tribute to those who have gone before.
Once you’ve sketched out a specific goal or two, think about resources. What’s your budget? What other resources can you devote to this project? How much time do you have? The best legacy projects don’t happen overnight. You need to make sure that your goals can fit with reality.
Two To Three Years
You’ve gotten organized quickly, and you can draw inspiration from some of the best company anniversary marketing campaigns ever.
This is the ideal time to work on a commemorative book. You have ample time to craft an inspirational company history. If you are a non-profit or social profit organization, a book can be used as a part of a well-timed charitable fundraising or awareness campaign (like the transformative and award-winning marketing of Vancouver’s PNE).
Don’t get caught up thinking that commemorative business books are ugly and boring. We’ve collaborated on hundreds of riveting books on topics accounting, insurance and bleach – people make stories, not product. Need some more inspiration? Check out this curated Slideshare of gorgeous business books.
This is also a good time to start working on organizing a gala celebration. The best and most meaningful venues in your area may book up years in advance. It can also take months to sync up the schedules of your VIPs. You may need to vet many outside contractors as well, especially if your company rarely holds events.
Eighteen Months To One Year
If you have your heart set on a book, this is probably the latest you can get started to ensure a quality product. It might be a good time to mine your archives for ideas and inspiration. If you find that you don’t have the resources or time for a book, consider other ways to incorporate history and legacy into your marketing. Perhaps you could develop a museum or even legacy wall in your corporate offices, retail spaces or even in your travelling convention setup.
If you’d like to develop a company video or documentary, remember that it can take up to six months to collect all the interviews required. The same holds true for a website or other digital solution. In order for everything to be a go for the anniversary, you have to allow for adequate time for testing and roll-out.
If you are planning a retention marketing campaign for your customers, whether with a book, social media campaign or in-person event, it’s time to get started. These projects often require extensive coordination between multiple departments; start having meetings now and work out how your can work together effectively and collaboratively.
You’re cutting it close, but big impact can still be had online. Create a catchy hashtag and ask team members to tweet or Instagram from work. Dig through your archives and own Throwback Thursday. A well-planned social media campaign can drive both search and engagement. It might be a good idea to launch a judicious public relations campaign as well.
One last idea if you’re crunched for time? Hit up HR. A storytelling workshop and idea exchange session can do wonders for your company culture, and there is no time like an anniversary to take stock. Even if you can’t get the dream project done for the big day, you can still instil storytelling skills and an appreciation of legacy into your corporate culture.
Don’t let a company anniversary go by unmentioned. It is a significant opportunity for culture building, marketing and engagement. Whether you decide on full legacy book or a simple hashtag, you can create a meaningful return on a date on your calendar.