2019 has seen some big anniversaries. Amazon turned 25. The Gap turned 50. It’s been 120 years for Fiat and 200 for Cravath, one of the world’s most prestigious law firms.
Anniversaries provide an important moment to both reflect on achievements of the past and plan for a bright future. Whether it’s been 10, 25, 100 or 200 years, endurance in a changing world is something to celebrate. This moment can reintroduce your brand and your story to audiences that have been with you from the beginning, and invite new audiences to engage more deeply.
Most companies promote these milestones through social media, microsites, events, and other marketing efforts. Before beginning, it is important to understand how this fits into your overall plan.
Here are 3 questions to ask about marketing your company’s anniversary:
1. How does this support your brand strategy?
Go back to your brand platform and consider how you can use this moment to build on your story. Is it historical or forward-facing or both? This is an opportunity to tout your legacy and accomplishments, while engaging audiences with your plans for the future. Innovations, patents, acquisitions, and major milestones can all be woven into a story of continued success and your preparation for the future.
“Anniversaries are a great time to re-establish your brand,” says Sarah Lowndes, Senior Account Director at Carbone Smolan Agency. “They give you an opportunity to talk about how your organization’s values are truly authentic—what was true for you on Day One is still true now. They allow you to emphasize your commitment to these values and provide a meaningful platform for talking about your vision for the brand.”
2. How should we plan for this initiative?
Start twelve months ahead. You will need to secure budget for materials, microsites, events, and advertising. You will also need to create content on top of your normal marketing activities. Planning can be streamlined by identifying owners within your organization early. Choose a cross-functional team that can carry the project across the finish line. Twelve months passes quickly.
“When thinking about timing,” says Lowndes, “also consider: are there other organizational changes we’ve been planning on making? Can we launch these alongside the anniversary to create more excitement and engagement around them?”
3. Does this warrant its own logo?
Like any initiative, a custom look, logo, and digital presence may be useful. If the anniversary will be woven into normal marketing materials for the year, then maybe a logo may not be warranted. If you are having “50th Anniversary” events in your community, then a “50th” logo is probably a good idea. Discuss the year’s marketing calendar as a team and decide if a custom logo will have enough opportunity to develop awareness.
“An anniversary logo can make a big impact if used strategically,” says CSA Senior Strategist Lillian Pontius-Goldblatt. “Really understanding where this initiative lives in your brand architecture and your broader marketing plan and who owns it within the organization will guide you to a meaningful anniversary brand, with or without a logo.”
Use your company’s anniversary as a chance to tell your true story and connect with your audience. This moment in time can supply content for a whole year and they don’t come around often. Take advantage.