This year and last were big years of celebration for Waikato organisations. Have you noticed how many commemorated major anniversaries over the past 18 months?
Last year National Fieldays was 50 and Gallagher Group turned 80. And this year law firms McCaw Lewis and Norris Ward McKinnon turn 100 while CRV Ambreed and Lodge Real Estate both turn 50. A few not-for-profits are also celebrating, with Habitat for Humanity Central North Island turning 25 this year and Balloons Over Waikato reaching their 20th.
Celebrating an anniversary provides the opportunity to do more on the communications front to get you noticed and help you gain further respect from the people who matter to your business. So, if you’re coming up to a big milestone, don’t let it pass by without making the most of the opportunity.
What sort of milestone is worth marking? As a rule, I’d say any anniversary with a factor of five is cause for pause – whether it’s your fifth or 105th.
So, what’s the best way to leverage an anniversary milestone? Here are a few ideas that can create a big impact.
Tell a story
Historic milestones are great opportunities to tell inspiring stories about the past, the present and what’s coming up in the future.
But keep in mind the very best stories are about people – your staff and your customers are perfect places to start. Audiences will connect with people stories more than a chronological history of your organisation.
Think about what sort of key messages, values and philosophies you want people to understand about your business and select great people stories that bring those messages to life.
And remember, if you have a large number of stories, consider putting them into a book or even a special micro website.
Once you’ve got your stories, remember to repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.
One story provides content for many channels. Think about how you can re-angle the story for a staff newsletter, a poster in the tea room, customer communication, media story, social media post, blog post, web story, video or even a podcast series. The possibilities are endless, so plan how you can squeeze maximum value out of every piece of content you develop.
If you’re celebrating a major milestone like your 50th or 100th, a fun way to celebrate is with stories, events and visuals that remind people what life and business was like in the year your organisation was founded.
You could bring some of that historic flavour into a creative logo design or have a staff or customer event with a theme that harks back to your first year of operation. Involve your staff in brainstorming and planning and have fun with it.
Anniversaries are a perfect trigger for engaging with the people who matter to the success of your business. Have a celebration for staff and think about how you can do something extra special for customers, suppliers or partners to thank them for being part of your success.
Think about who matters most in your business and involve them in a way that demonstrates your appreciation for the part they’ve played in helping you achieve this milestone. Involving others will help you cement relationships, build loyalty and could even result in a few more sales at the end of the day.
Think about how you can give back, particularly around very significant birthdays. Is there a donation you could make? Is there a piece of community art you could commission? Could you start a university scholarship in your company’s name?
Not only is giving back a “win” for your community, it also provides a further opportunity to tell another heartening story about your organisation and its values.
If you’re wondering why significant anniversaries are on my mind, HMC turns 15 in May. While we’re still a “teenager” in the corporate world, we will mark the occasion appropriately. So, watch this space.