Marking a corporate anniversary is a fun PR and marketing initiative, one that promotes pride in the organization and builds goodwill with a company’s constituents. Companies are rightfully eager to mark the accomplishment and share the momentous occasion with employees, clients, partners, and other audiences. So how do you promote a corporate anniversary?
Think of the milestone (whether it’s a 5, 10, or 20-year anniversary) as a year-long celebration of the company’s longevity and its goals for the future, and plan an anniversary campaign that strengthens the brand and promotes the firm and its mission. The target audience for the anniversary campaign could include employees, clients, prospects, potential hires, partners, and media influencers in the company’s target sectors. There are many marketing and PR activities, including events and multimedia communications, that lend themselves nicely to anniversary promotion. Your goals, budget, and target audience will determine which activities best fit your company.
Videos: Video marketing has been established as an effective tool to engage audiences and showcase a firm’s culture and personality. For a year-long anniversary campaign, plan a video series of short, two to three-minute clips that marks the celebration launch, announces celebration activities, and highlights the company’s people, work, and vision for the future. A video can also feature the history of the company and testimonials from senior management and long-term staff and clients. Change up the video clip on the website home page throughout the year to maintain interest in the campaign.
Social media: Social media is the fastest way to generate buzz, and if tagged properly, can be reviewed often and reposted. Create an anniversary hashtag and use it consistently throughout the year to tag posts for new videos, historical photos, and celebration events. Ask employees, clients and industry partners to tweet about their favorite company memories or projects. If a collection of decade-oriented summaries, photos, or news clippings is available, create a social media calendar to tease out the content on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter throughout the year.
E-Blasts: Email marketing can reach a large audience all at once and for very little money, and provides an easy way for clients to respond and say “congratulations!” The teaser concept applies to email blasts as well, and content can be re-used in many different forms to attract different audiences. Remember to distribute an email blast to promote each new video in the series.
Company parties: Everyone loves a great party, and the culture and personality of the company should determine the style and formality of the celebrations. Host one big bash or several parties for just employees, key clients and partners. Parties can range from small informal gatherings held in the office for client relations and networking, to large, scripted events with formal presentations, awards, and entertainment. If budget allows, make a lasting impression with etched champagne glasses (accompanied by a champagne toast) or elaborate custom anniversary cakes at each party. Employee and client gifts can also be meaningful ways to express appreciation.
Events and community involvement: In addition to parties, plan other events for employee team-building and community service that support the company’s values. Choose a cause meaningful to staff and arrange a volunteer day, complete with company branded T-shirts. Employees will look forward to a fun day out of the office to build comradery and memories together.
Press release: Traditionally, national AEC press does not consider a company anniversary to be news. Anniversaries happen all the time, and unless they are announced in conjunction with other management news, client wins, or service offerings, it will be challenging to get media attention. For local business press, tie the company anniversary to a local cause or charity donation. Making a charitable donation in a public way will promote both the anniversary as well as the values the company espouses. Submit the news with a photo and caption to local press.
Company and/or executive profile: Profiles of the company and/or the CEO are a great way to share company history, a significant milestone, or a leadership transition. Local, regional and national publications may cover company and/or executive profiles either as a submitted article or a staff-written Q&A with company management. If the CEO is speaking with an editor in person or by phone, be sure to prepare talking points in advance so the company’s strategic messaging is conveyed.
Anniversary logo: A fun way to celebrate a company’s anniversary is by adding an anniversary “element” to an existing company logo. The logo could be used for the full year of anniversary initiatives and events, including placement on the web site, social media, ads, and email signatures, as well as custom-printed event invitations, commemorative stationery, and direct mail pieces. Rhino PR celebrated its fifth and tenth anniversaries with customized logos created by Mark Guarino of Guarino Design.
Direct mail: Teaser postcards are another way to build excitement around a corporate anniversary. A postcard a month or quarter featuring a timeline, summary of events, and signature projects during each decade, is a fun walk down memory lane and creates a collection of keepsakes once completed.
A corporate anniversary is a great opportunity to celebrate with the various constituencies that have contributed to the company’s success while inspiring them with the company’s vision for the future. A thoughtful anniversary campaign with a multi-tiered approach keeps the party going all year.
About the author
Susan Shelby, FSMPS, CPSM is the president and CEO of Rhino Public Relations, a full-service PR and marketing agency focused on meeting the unique needs of professional services firms. Rhino PR offers customized services based on each individual client’s goals and budget. Susan received the 2016 SMPS Boston Marketing Professional of the Year Award, which honors marketing excellence in the A/E/C industry. Follow her @RhinoPRBoston or visit www.rhinopr.com for more information about how Rhino PR can help you take charge of your PR.