Whether your business has been operating for five or 50 years, any anniversary is an important milestone in the company’s history. If you choose to celebrate the occasion, there are certain steps to take to guarantee a successful campaign leading up to an extraordinary event. Check out these 16 marketing tips to make your business anniversary a smashing success:
1. Decide your event objectives.
While the purpose of the event is to celebrate your company’s anniversary, what objectives are you looking to accomplish? Is this an event to honor the hard work of employees, thank loyal customers or attract new clients? Maybe you want to open the event to the public, invite the media and gain PR attention. Do you plan to raise money for a charity? Clarifying your objective is the first step to deciding your guest list, theme and more.
This is also the time to decide what success looks like at the end. What metrics will you use to determine whether or not the event was a success – number of attendees, profit, money raised for charity, number of news stories published or something else?
2. Invent a theme and tagline to center your anniversary promotions on.
Choose a theme and tagline, and create a logo (or modify your company’s current logo) to promote in the months leading up to the event. Add the tagline and logo to your website and all employees’ email signatures for the year. For example, we used “A Decade of Excellence” as the theme for a client’s 10-year celebration.
Disney created this simple edition of its well-known logo to celebrate its 50th anniversary, which is coming up in 2021. You can likely expect to see this version on all of the company’s branded materials in the near future.
3. Pitch your anniversary to the media.
Let me say up front, that while anniversaries are very important internally, they are not newsworthy in themselves. To get an outlet to cover your milestone, tie it to revenue and/or staff growth, noteworthy client acquisitions and/or planned growth opportunities. A headline/subhead that worked for one of our clients in the past was: Mobile App Developer Celebrated its Seventh Anniversary With 31 Percent YOY Revenue Growth/The firm has doubled its development talent, adding 15 developers in nine months.
4. Get creative with your anniversary publicity plan.
Because anniversaries alone are not newsworthy, it’s important to use memorable messaging tactics to catch your prospective audience’s attention. Try pitching a Q&A with your company leader, positioning your anniversary within a larger industry trend or pitching a company culture story. In short: do more than throw your press release up on PRWeb. Involve your team when brainstorming publicity ideas—their enthusiasm will kick-start the celebrations.
5. Map out a campaign including a landing page, blogs and social media.
Develop a campaign that optimizes all your owned channels leading up to the event. Add a landing page to your website and release regular blogs related to the event’s theme. Create a banner to use on your website’s homepage and all your social media platforms, and post about the anniversary regularly on both company and employee social media profiles. Take advantage of print materials such as banners and signs if you have a customer-facing storefront. Finally, consider introducing a podcast or video series to gain more eyes and ears.
Be sure to include content that appeals to all your stakeholders, including investors, donors and alumni staffers. The campaign should last for at least two months, but it can last all year.
6. Send out a media advisory inviting local and trade media to your celebration.
Make sure to mention the memorable messaging you decided on in steps 3 and 4, and list any featured speakers or notable guests who plan to attend.
7. Establish a company timeline.
Dive into your history with founders and executives to establish a timeline of your organization, and turn it into a creative depiction such as a photo installation, coffee table book or video. For the Bradford Group’s 15th anniversary, we created a fun chalkboard timeline that captured everything from the firm’s first client to the boss’s first gray hair!
We also helped Nashville commercial real estate firm Southeast Venture celebrate its 30th anniversary with a video series that highlighted its history and community impact.
8. Design an infographic to illustrate your firm’s impact over the years.
Come up with clever, graphic ways to display the number of people employed, clients served, charity dollars donated, cases of Diet Coke consumed, etc. Here’s a great example from AirBnB, which showcased its evolution from “two guys who can’t pay rent” to its $10 billion valuation in 2014.
9. Leverage your anniversary for outreach.
This is a great opportunity to reach out to marquee clients for video and written testimonials.
10. Send thank you’s.
Take several moments away from patting yourself on the back to focus on your business partners, without whom your success wouldn’t be possible. Send handwritten notes thanking those with the greatest impact.
11. Create a special offer.
Offering a discount or introducing a limited-edition product or service is a great way to celebrate your anniversary while also providing newsworthiness to reporters, who might not otherwise be interested in covering the anniversary. Celebrating your fifth anniversary? Offer a 5-month discount. Made it to 40 years? Send a friends and family discount worth 40% off. Remember that it’s all about your customers – you wouldn’t have made it this far without them. This is just a small way to show them your appreciation while also giving them a reason to shop with your company.
12. Have name tags available for your anniversary event.
From simple, adhesive labels to laminate enclosed name tags, these help facilitate networking and make photo tagging easy after the event.
13. Hire a professional photographer.
Take full staff and management photos the hour leading up to your party. These pictures, and pictures from the event, can be used and reused in marketing and human resources materials for years to come.
14. Send event photos to local news outlets for publication.
Create a media list of local outlets who may be interested in publishing photos from the event. For example, here in Nashville, The Tennessean, Nashville Business Journal, Nfocus, Nashville Lifestyles and GCA Publishing, among other outlets and blogs, publish some form of social/society/party photos. Be sure your photos are captioned with the photographed individuals’ names and, if appropriate, titles.
Attendees may also be interested in viewing and sharing the photos, so make them available to the public through your landing page or an album on the company’s social media pages.
15. Send a post-celebration email or letter.
Reach out to important investors, partners, public officials and prospects thanking them for attending. This is also a great time to share event photos as mementos or simply link to an online gallery.
16. Analyze the event’s success.
Now that all is said and done, take a look at your initial objectives and, using the predetermined metrics, decide whether or not the event was successful. Take thorough notes about what went right, what went wrong and how it could be better. This will be valuable information to use when planning the next company celebration.
While a company anniversary is worth celebrating, it’s your job to make those outside your organization care about it. Implement these 16 steps for an unforgettable anniversary campaign and event.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on this blog in July 2014, and was updated in June 2020.