Business Development / December 11, 2019
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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 as a year-long celebration of the company’s longevity, 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 that lend themselves nicely to anniversary promotion. Your goals, budget, and target audience will determine which activities best fit your company.
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 both promote the anniversary as well as the values the company espouses. For example, Margulies Perruzzi Architects donated $25,000 to the not-for-profit organization Heading Home in honor of its 25th anniversary, and commemorated the milestone at an employee-only black tie celebration. A press release and social media blitz followed the event.
Company and/or executive profile: Profiles of the company and/or the CEO are a great way to share company history and significant milestones. 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. Acentech wrote and submitted its own Q&A-style article to High-Profile Monthly by then-president Chris Savereid for the company’s 60th anniversary.
Company party: In addition to providing employees with an opportunity to celebrate, a successful anniversary party or event can make a lasting impression on current and/or prospective clients or serve as a publicity opportunity for the company. Events can range from small informal gatherings held in the office for client relations and networking, to large, scripted events with formal presentations and entertainment. The culture and personality of the company should determine the style and formality of the event. To celebrate real estate developer and property manager Hobbs Brook Management’s 60th anniversary, the company held an evening gala at its newest office building, conveniently located right next door to its corporate headquarters. GZA GeoEnvironmental held 50th anniversary parties in several national locations to correspond to their regional offices. The company commemorated the events with etched champagne glasses (accompanied by a champagne toast), and elaborate custom anniversary cakes at each party.
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 and direct mail pieces. Rhino PR added fun anniversary elements to its logo for both the fifth and 10th anniversaries, and promoted the anniversary on that year’s holiday card.
Commemorative stationery: Creating commemorative stationery with an anniversary logo for business correspondence (letterhead, invoices, proposals, field notes, etc.) is a fun and visible way to reinforce the celebration of the company’s longevity. Given that most business correspondence today originates in an electronic format, you can replace your firm’s email signatures and electronic stationery with commemorative stationery for a set period of time. Printed materials such as business envelopes and mailing labels will have to be ordered and delivered to each office.
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.
E-Blast: 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 as well, and content can be re-used in many different forms to attract different audiences.
Video: A video could be created that incorporates the history of the company as well as testimonials from senior management and long-term staff and clients. A video could be featured on the home page of the web site throughout the anniversary year, as well as promoted via an e-blast. Again, a video is a great opportunity to showcase a firm’s culture and personality. To mark its 25th anniversary, reflect on the past, plan for the future, and have lots of fun doing it, Margulies Perruzzi Architects created a friendly company-wide video competition. Eight teams of employees each filmed and produced a two- to three-minute video about the firm, its people, and its practices. The winning team was awarded a trip to Bermuda.
Social media: Social media is the fastest way to get your message out to the public, and if tagged properly can be reviewed often and reposted. Create an anniversary hashtag, and ask employees, clients and industry partners to tweet about their favorite company memories or projects. Photos are particularly powerful in this new media, and decade-oriented summaries and photos can be teased out on Facebook over an established period of time
A corporate anniversary should be publicly celebrated with the constituencies that have contributed to the company’s success. A year-long campaign and a multi-tiered approach keeps the party going all year.