— August 1, 2019
Congratulations! You’re celebrating a company anniversary. I just celebrated my “Metisversary” – seven years at the company, and our team has brainstormed and collaborated on several anniversary celebrations and promotions for clients along the way.
Whether you’ve hit a solid five years or you’re taking the time to reflect on 50 years in business, an anniversary is a good time to recognize the accomplishments your company has achieved throughout the years.
Additionally, there are several different types of channels and audiences that can share in your company’s “birthday,” so you’ll have to plan if you want to celebrate with customers with special messages or promotions, throw a party with your employees, or showcase your body of work for your market and other industry players.
Here you’ll find a cheat sheet on the different segments and ideas for celebrating a business anniversary.
Already know who you’re celebrating with? Jump to our ideas about how to promote your company’s anniversary.
Chances are your business longevity is due, in large part, to the loyalty and success of your customers. Mark the occasion with special attention for your customers. This can be in the form of a special offer or discount, new promotion, or a sneak peek at new features.
You can also fold customer perspectives in to your celebratory themes with their accounts of how the company or the technology has changed over time, testimonials on why they like working with your team, or customer-sourced photos or case studies of how they’re using your product. These activities build more positive support alongside third-party validation and credibility for your traction to date.
Your customers wouldn’t benefit from your services and offerings without the dedicated team that built them. Reward your employees for all the times they went the extra mile, brought a new launch over the finish line, and made a customer’s day. These rewards can be in the form of special shout outs, recognition in the newsletter or blog, limited edition anniversary swag, a team outing or party, or other shared experiences to bring the company together.
If you’ve been a bit camera-shy about promoting your company’s innovation and growth, now’s a good time to roll your traction and accolades in to the celebration. If you compare now to “back then,” there’s several types of momentum that you can promote.
You could highlight customers in case studies, newsletters or other marketing content that will be reusable for marketing and sales enablement in the future. Your technology expertise and changes you’ve witnessed along the way is great thought leadership fodder for publications and company collateral to grow the industry’s trust for your authority. Your company’s revenue or employee growth may also warrant public comment, which can help attract new local talent or industry interest in your company throughout this banner year.
How can I promote my company anniversary?
Once you’ve decided which stakeholders and audiences you want to involve in your special year, you can start to map out the activities that will help them share in the excitement.
To promote your company anniversary, you can use a mix of social media, events, storytelling from your employees and other stakeholders, promotional graphics and content, thought leadership, retrospectives on your products, and other assets that can celebrate the milestone and support your brand’s promotion now and in the future.
Social media matches the fun, celebratory nature of celebrating an anniversary. It lends itself to different multimedia as well.
1. Throwback Thursday (#TBT): The popularity of the Throwback Thursday hashtag #TBT gives a wide platform to join the conversation while reminiscing around past moments and shared events. Involve new audiences with your company’s history and mission by sharing old photos or discussing humble beginnings.
2. Special hashtag: Creating a special handle or hashtag related to your milestone unifies the celebrations across social media channels. That way, you can collect memorable quotes on Twitter and LinkedIn or aggregate an album of photos across Instagram or Facebook. Additionally, it gives employees, partners and other third parties an outlet to amplify their excitement and celebrations. As they share their posts about the #Acme50th or #Xturns5, you can re-share the content and keep the engagement going.
3. Polls: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter offer ways to poll your followers. This is a great way to engage your audience by asking trivia questions or getting them to vote on the types of anniversary information they’d like to see next, or even help you plan your celebration. The polling feature helps your audience feel like a part of the celebration, even if they’re following from afar.
Event planning is a great compliment to celebrating a milestone. Many companies decide to mark the occasion with a party or an all-hands event to bring the major stakeholders together. It also gives you a point in time to capture your success and reflect on additional growth at a future anniversary.
4. Bell ringing ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange: If your company is publicly traded, the exchanges love a good celebratory moment. Check in with your promotions team to see if they can coordinate a special date to recognize the company and the milestone, and plan extra time to get ahead of other companies that may have the same idea.
5. Throw a party: Let’s celebrate! You’ve made it to your company anniversary, and it’s natural to want to plan a “birthday” party for employees and everyone who has helped in your success.
6. Host company Jeopardy: There’s probably a fair amount of old tales, historic information, buried stories and hidden facts that your company has accumulated along the way. Hosting a company-wide Jeopardy is a great way to bring the team together. Additionally, it’s a fun way to uncover surprises in how the company changed along the way.
Industry snapshots help tell the story of your company’s evolution through the lens of how the market has changed alongside it. Who remembers the drastic change to streaming music from the CD player, or even the tape deck?
7. Outline your impact on vertical industries: If architecture firms are able to share plans faster or doctors are able to make more accurate diagnoses because of your technology, share how far you’ve come in the time you’ve spent together. Prospective customers, partners and other stakeholders may take notice how you’ve impacted a market and imagine possibilities for the future.
8. Worldwide expansion timeline: Did your company grow from one office or one city to multiple locations? A distributed, international workforce is now the norm. Develop a timeline, infographic, heatmap or other storytelling multimedia to show how your company expanded on its path to global domination.
9. Target customer evolution: More specific than a particular vertical or industry, there may be longtime customers that evolved alongside you. They could have an interesting timeline or case study to showcase how things were done in the “olden” days, contrasting with the features and product adoption they’ve collaborated on with you in the present day.
Innovation is one sure thing to keep companies alive and on an upward trajectory. You’ve probably innovated for one of your market niches or iterated on products that were new to the market. Take a retrospective of how your products and services have changed since they were first introduced to showcase how far you’ve come.
10. Shout about your patents: Many of your current offerings probably came from the building blocks of your patents, which still pay dividends to this day. Not all companies make hay about their patents, but there are ways to boast about your tech without giving away the intellectual property. Add some information about how many patents the company holds, or what fields the patents support. Consider framing information about the patents in a prominent part of the office to help your team share in the pride of your secret formulas.
11. Recap your most successful products: Your company’s longevity stems from the products and services that delighted customers and solved their most challenging issues. Share a recap of bestsellers that may have transformed into new platforms or received new version updates along the way.
12. Time lapse of your product: Remember the rotary phone or the tape deck? Chances are you had a product, logo or a webpage that has had a facelift along the way. Consider pulling out the old albums or mockups to see how different your before and after image may be, which you can share in email newsletters, social media or around the website.
13. Company milestones timeline/infographic: Have you put together an official company history, or are the major changes carried on through oral history? Consider committing the big events and “aha” moments to the page with an official timeline or infographic for your website, office halls or social media. This will help capture how far the company has come and align your team on the major shifts that determined your direction today.
Content is something we never seem to have enough of, and the company anniversary should help spur new ideas for additional collateral or refreshed pieces. Not only will you help recognize this special point in time, but you will also generate fresh assets for your sales, lead generation and hiring efforts.
14. New website landing page or microsite: A webpage dedicated to your anniversary gives many of these stories and graphics a home. You can use a special landing page to direct celebrants for event updates, shared albums of the festivities, ways to register for contests or redeem promotions, or sections to catch up on company history and customer traction. This will give you a specialized location to check for audience engagement, customer conversion and other activity to help inform your continued growth.
15. Letter from leadership: A special note from management will set the tone for recognition and appreciation to help celebrate your company anniversary. Your CEO can express thanks to employees and customers for a great track record to date. It also provides a platform for a quick “state of the union” about the health of the company.
16. Story of the year you started: Deeper than a visual timeline of years or a letter from the CEO, a full-fledged story about the company’s first 100 days can paint an interesting picture of its roots. If the company started out of a café while the founder was down on her luck—much like the start of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series—or if it was born out of a personal story or challenge—like Warby Parker—you may have an interesting tale to tell. In an age of bigger-than-life superheroes, everyone loves an origin story they can share.
17. Special anniversary logo: Whether your logo just underwent a redesign or you want to recognize your milestone with a light treatment, you can tweak your brand on the site, in your email signatures and in other channels to help the news of your anniversary ripple beyond the company. It’s a simple way to spread the excitement and mark a great year. Here is a good example of an organization altering their logo in recognition of 10 years of success.
18. Company trivia contest: If your company is distributed around the world or employees can’t make it to an all-hands Jeopardy event, there are ways to spread the discovery of forgotten company history or engage your team in guessing the answers to obscure trivia about the company. You can start an online survey, question-and-answer form on your microsite or through email to collect guesses from employees new and old. Offer anniversary swag or other prizes for the trivia-hound that gets the most answers correct, or honorary recognition for the funniest guesses.
19. Photo reenactments: One of the touching memes circulating the Internet is how friends and family reenact old photos. While you’re digging for old photos, see if there are a few examples that could offer interesting juxtapositions, like the founder holding the new product alongside their old photo next to the original product. Are there a few longstanding employees in a snapshot? See if you can get them back together to celebrate the throwback.
20. E-card or newsletter: Many brands send the occasional holiday card, which goes around once a year. A company anniversary is another great time to say “hi” and set yourself apart. An eye-catching card or a celebratory email can expand the celebration to prospects and other audiences, drawing their attention to your company’s longevity and success. If you’re planning to invite them to an anniversary party, this is another good way to warm them up to the festivities ahead.
21. Fun facts: Aside from timely milestones, you can visualize the work you’ve accumulated in fun ways, too. Add up all the customer data, products shipped or distance traveled and calculate new frames of references for them. If you put all your customers’ bytes on thumb drives, how many times would they travel to the moon if you stacked them end to end? If your products have crossed countries or oceans, how long would it take for the fastest Olympic runner to cover the total distance? If you stood your users shoulder to shoulder, how many football fields would they cross?
22. Customer gift: Create or share something useful for your customers. It can be new data, templates, public awards or recognition, or other tools that would be valuable to your existing clients or help them celebrate by paying things forward.
23. Press release: If your company is announcing something newsworthy in concert with the anniversary, such as new technology, new hires or other developments, consider combining the news in a press release. You may also want to hire a public relations agency to land press coverage, advise on the elements that reporters will find the most interesting, and bring other parts of your anniversary vision to life.
People are an important element of your celebration. Showcasing the faces and names associated with your company success will help highlight the individual champions that advanced the business. With a little digging, you may find a new human-interest story.
24. Employee interviews: Your team knows the ins and outs of your company. By interviewing them, you have opportunities to learn what they love about their job, what their first impressions of the company were, how the business has changed, and what they’re excited to accomplish in the future. These interviews could be video interviews, blogs or other testimonials you can share throughout the year to help customers see the team behind the brand and highlight your company culture for prospective hires.
25. Founder family tree: Were your founders part of other successful brands before your company launched? Are there executives that have moved on to start other interesting projects? Perhaps your board brings expertise from other recognizable companies. This expertise isn’t always front-and-center, so you can showcase the DNA that makes your business great with a family tree or other graphic of the great logos that are part of your brand’s success.
26. Momentum and job growth: This business milestone may help bring the magnitude of your growth into perspective. Measuring from the first founder or handful of employees, you may note how much the company has truly grown. Calculate the amount of hires you’ve added, and check what you’re planning to hire in the coming year. New jobs and growth can be of great interest to press and local audiences.
27. Thought leadership and profiles: Have members of your executive team witnessed the company evolve since day one? Do you have a new leader who took the organization through a challenging period, a turnaround or pivot? Customers and partners are hungry to know more about the people behind the company, and each of these leaders could potentially lend an interesting profile for the website or other third-party content to help outline the fabric of your team.