3 Big Mistakes Companies Make With Business Anniversaries

by Pauline Bartel, Bartel Communications Inc

25th Anniversary Graphic

Thinking about celebrating your business anniversary?

Be smart in harnessing the promotional power of this essential marketing strategy. Avoid the three big mistakes companies make in planning and executing corporate anniversary promotional campaigns:

Big Mistake #1: Planning With Insufficient Lead Time.

Successful promotional campaigns for business anniversaries require advanced planning. Milestone anniversaries, which are those ending in 0 or 5, require at least 12 months of lead time. In-between anniversaries require at least 6 months. If time is short yet you still want to do something for your corporate anniversary, keep it simple.

For example, send handwritten thank-you notes to customers, expressing appreciation for their loyalty over the years. A modest, easy-to-execute customer-appreciation initiative is better than doing nothing at all. Just don’t expect the same results that a business anniversary promotional campaign would yield with sufficient lead time for strategic planning and execution.

Big Mistake #2: Celebrating Without "Sell"-abrating.

Throwing a party is one way of celebrating a corporate anniversary. However, a more strategic approach positions products and services within the context of the anniversary.

As a result, the occasion becomes a "sell"-abration, contributing directly to the company’s future success. Smart companies celebrate and "sell"-abrate by creating an anniversary-year theme, developing a branding message for key stakeholders and executing promotional strategies that communicate the anniversary-year message. Here’s how this works for a company marking its 3rd anniversary year, the symbol of which is Star.

One theme this symbol evokes is Hollywood. The branding message this theme suggests is "You’re the Star on Our Red Carpet," which can be communicated in the following ways:

  • For current and former customers, the company hosts a Hollywood-style open house complete with a red carpet and chocolate statuette awards as thank-you gifts. New products or services are debuted in a "Coming Attractions" video.
  • For prospective customers, the company delivers star-shaped novelty containers filled with foil-wrapped chocolates and notes stating "We Can Make You a Star!" Sending gift certificates for three bundled products or services is an extra-special touch for A-list prospects.
  • For employees, the company rents a local theater and invites staff and their families to attend a free "Movie and Popcorn Night." As part of the festivities, outstanding employees are recognized with "Star Performer" awards.

Big Mistake #3: Delegating Anniversary Arrangements to Staff.

Like the sails on a schooner caught in gale force winds, employees are stretched to the limit these days. Delegating anniversary planning and execution to staff already grappling with ongoing responsibilities could incite a mutiny or even sink your ship. Smart companies hire a business anniversary consultant.

Experienced business anniversary consultants understand the process of planning and executing corporate anniversary promotional campaigns. They provide fresh, creative ideas – even ones you hadn’t thought of. They are also implementation experts, launching the tactics, managing the details and accomplishing the mission. Relying on a business anniversary consultant is the smart solution for your business anniversary: You set the course; the consultant takes the helm; and you enjoy smooth sailing.

Be smart in harnessing the promotional power of your business anniversary. Avoid the three big mistakes companies make, and you’ll transform your corporate anniversary into a successful "sell"-abration.

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