How To Make Your Company Milestones and Anniversaries A Smart Business Strategy [Infographic]

How To Make Your Company Milestones and Anniversaries A Smart Business Strategy [Infographic]

COMPANY MILESTONES CAN TAKE DIFFERENT FORMS. They can be an anniversary of your opening, the launch of a momentous new offering, or a turning point in your company’s history.

Because they offer a platform to get attention, they shouldn’t be seen as just a chance for a party. With careful thought, they can provide business value and a chance to deliver important messages.

Here’s what a strategic approach to celebrating a milestone or anniversary can do for you.

20 Things We've Learned from 20 Years of Business

This year our company celebrates its 20th year in business. We could never have imagined what was possible when we started this enterprise in our beautiful little hometown in southeastern Washington in 1997.

We've learned many lessons about business in these 20 years and, in the spirit of this milestone, are sharing some insights that we've gathered along the way.

  1. Communication can absolutely grow your business. We've seen a strong campaign reverse declining market shares, claim market leadership for a service line, and grow a new service in a matter of months.

  2. To engage employees, communicate what the future will look like once you achieve your goals. Humans consistently outperform expectations when they believe it’s possible and important to do so.

  3. Communication that connects employees to their purpose and mission is like nourishment for an organization. Leaders who invest in this reap big rewards.

  4. Spend money on exceptional pictures. We live in a visually sophisticated world where the absence of these can actually hurt your brand.

  5. If selling is your goal, make sales your metric. Monitoring views, shares, and social media interaction is good, but in the end, it's most important to watch your sales data.

  6. Mobile and video are exploding. Be there, but don’t abandon other media options that still work.

  7. Insist on a campaign microsite if you're doing a focused campaign. Your abandonment rate (the rate at which people come to your site from your ad's call to action, then leave quickly) will plummet—and results will soar.

  8. The leader’s job is to vision and provision. Make it possible for your people to do great work by creating a clear vision—then removing obstacles, resourcing, and encouraging.

  9. There’s no substitute for people who care about their work.

  10. Hard work and attention to detail are more important than brilliance.

  11. Say "no" to "no." There will be times you think it can't be done. There will be people who think you are crazy to try. Do it anyway.

  12. Don't let the closed door stop you. It's very possible that just beyond is an open door to something better.

  13. Better project management produces better creative results.

  14. Strive for truth-telling. Employees who tell you what you should hear—and not what you want to hear—engage in the highest form of loyalty.

  15. Excellence only happens when you pay attention to the work at every step.

  16. We curate our lives and shape our brand by the people we choose to live and work with. Being particular pays.

  17. People make decisions first based on emotion, and then on facts. Never assume a good argument will take you further than a good story.

  18. To find a good story, you have to be curious and willing to dig deeper than others might.

  19. Creative work happens where the human soul is tended.

  20. The best thing leaders can do is work on themselves. Become the better you, and your employees will become the better them.

CMBell Company and Clients Win Five Awards for Creative Work

Creative work developed by CMBell Company and our clients has received five awards from the 33rd Annual Healthcare Marketing Advertising Awards Competition—the country’s largest healthcare advertising awards competition.

We celebrate the hard work and creativity of our clients and our team in bringing together these creative projects.

Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center OB Admissions Booklet

Glendale Adventist Medical Center 110-year Anniversary Video

Adventist Health Southern California Region Brochure

Adventist Health Southern California Region Renewal Video

Adventist Health Southern California Region Success Video

Adventist Health Urgent Care - Montrose Motion Graphic Video

Simi Valley Hospital OB Campaign

CMBell Company: Celebrating 19 Years of Business


Wow, we’re in our 19th year.

I can’t tell you how proud and invigorated that makes us.

What started as a dream many years ago has grown into something so much better than any of us could have imagined. So will you indulge me for a moment as I reflect on some of the things that have been important to us in building this dream?


We have chosen to surround ourselves with exceptional people—both employees and clients. I pay special homage to the early members of our team who took a chance on joining CMBell Company, which at the time was just the seed of an idea, and who have been central forces in building it into the company it is today. Equally important have been the clients who saw our potential, fueled our creative growth and inspired us to constantly reach higher. We know that every day we must earn the trust of our clients, and we find great satisfaction in the longstanding relationships this journey has yielded.

I’ve said it many times: one of the best things about building a business is picking the people you’ll get to work with every day. Is there anything better? Our team is a wonderful mix of fresh faces and experienced journeymen, left-brained and right-brained thinkers, thoughtful and visionary—each of whom are accomplished artists and professionals. We work together without drama—each person willing to help make the team and our clients successful. So our energy, instead of being sapped by internal friction, is focused on our work. This is a gift we never take for granted.

Family Business

We remain heartily committed to the value a family business brings to a community—and are inspired by some of our own clients, who have built on this idea. A family business is often centered in shared impulses, dreams and beliefs that are nurtured by each member. We all have skin in this game and our eye on the long haul more than on the immediate profits. We do not see building a business as a step along the way to our next job, but a lifetime investment. This is why we are excited to have recently had our two sons join us—each of them bringing their unique perspectives and talents to help propel our company forward.

Small businesses remain an important engine for America. It’s deeply gratifying to provide jobs to people right here in our community, exporting the fruits of their talent all over the country while allowing them to stay in this community we love so much.


But while we reflect on what we’ve learned in the past, this year is about looking forward. We have invested in new technological infrastructure and creative tools, recruited new talent and expanded our video services to meet the needs of our clients. The demand for video is exploding, and our increasingly diverse portfolio shows some of the many ways it is helping businesses deliver more powerful messages.

Life and Work Balance

We’ve never aspired to be big. Instead, we’ve pursued big ideas and worked to create a workplace where people can flourish—and where people come before profits. This is the soil out of which our company grew. For us, it has always been about creating a life first, and then a career—and fostering a workforce where people can find the life balance they need to thrive. Any growth that we pursue as a company must always fit these founding ideas.

At the end of the day, we find it exhilarating to develop creative communications that help companies we care about be more successful. For us, work is a cause. I think it shows in the work we produce.

We look forward to reaching higher this year. Thank you for meeting us here on our blog and for the role you have played in our success.

DeLona Lang Bell, President
CMBell Company

Use Video as a Gala Centerpiece

This hospital video, developed for their anniversary gala, achieves multiple things:

  • Evokes cause for celebration
  • Tells what they’re most proud of
  • Invites donors and friends into the organization
  • Delivers a message of momentum
  • Conveys to the community their essential role in the hospital’s success now—and in the future

When you have a captive audience at an event like a gala, you want to make every moment build a feeling of pride and enthusiasm for the organization. Nothing does that like a well-produced video.

Are you using video to change how people feel about your organization?

CMBell Company and Clients Win Eight Awards for Creative Work

Creative work developed by CMBell Company and clients has received eight awards from the 32nd Annual Healthcare Marketing Advertising Awards competition.

We celebrate the hard work of our clients and our team in bringing together these creative projects.

LIttleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Video

LIttleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Elevator Wraps

Dignity Health Recruiting Display

Adventist Health Southern California Region Strategic Planning Video

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Print Ads

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Transit Shelter Poster

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Elevator Wrap

Use Your Company Anniversary as a Brand Refresh

Celebrating achievements are important, but corporate milestones represent an opportunity for more than just celebration. They’re a chance to roll-out your story in a fresh way—to revitalize your brand.
We worked with Simi Valley Hospital to pull together their signature messages about quality and growth, then developed a year-long plan to deliver those messages as part of their anniversary campaign—making the milestone work harder for them and getting more for their investment.

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Print Ad

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Print Ad

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Transit Shelter Ad

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Transit Shelter Ad

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Banner

Simi Valley Hospital 50-Year Anniversary Banner

Educational Advertising Awards Given to Four CMBell Company Projects

Four creative projects were selected for awards in the 30th Annual Educational Advertising Awards Competition. The Independent Colleges of Washington 60-year Anniversary Video received a Gold Award, and communication projects for the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities and Walla Walla University received a Silver Award and two Merit Awards. Earlier, these same projects received recognition in the 12th Annual Service Industry Awards Competition.
Congratulations to ICW, OAICU and WWU!

Bigger. Better. More.

Bigger. Better. More. That’s the theme we created to help Littleton Adventist Hospital leverage their 25-year anniversary to refresh their brand and show how they’ve grown to meet their community’s needs. In addition to direct mail and print ads, we worked with them to produce a video, Web content and elevator wraps.

Littleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Video


Littleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Web Page

Littleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Elevator Wraps

Recognize Employees

Recognition is one of the top things employees want in a job—yet too often it’s far too scarce. Yet watch any sport on TV and see how the immediate response of the crowd affects the players.

Recognition not only helps job satisfaction, but it acts as a rudder—steering the organization in its desired direction. Employees focus on what is rewarded and celebrated.

So how can you communicate recognition better in the workplace?

  • Make personal communication specific, like this: “Your ability to bring disparate ideas together really made that meeting a success.”
  • Make it more frequent.
  • Recognize people in front of their peers.
  • Send a note to the person’s boss, and copy them in.
  • Use a picture of them in a corporate communication.

 Need some inspiration? >>

This video celebrates the work of a hospital’s volunteers with photos of them at work. It’s an easy and fast way to say thank you to the people who make your organization successful—and it also can be used in recruiting, to give prospects a sense of your organization.

By showcasing employees talking about what it means to work at their organization, this video recognizes their employees, physicians and volunteers.

Videos Earn Merit Awards in the 31st Annual Healthcare Advertising Award Competition

Videos produced by CMBell Company and an LA-based hospital client have received two merit awards from the 31st Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards competition, the largest health care advertising awards competition in the nation.
The award was given to two of a series of 12 videos CMBell Company developed to tell the story of White Memorial’s Medical Center centennial. One of the award-winning videos was shown at their 2013 Gala at the Beverly Hills Wilshire hotel.
Nearly 4,000 entries were received in this year’s competition. A national panel of judges was engaged in reviewing all entries based on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact.

Can You Tell Your Company’s Story in Two Minutes?

It’s true, we all want to hear the short version. So give it to your audience in video form—a two-minute or less rendition of what you’re about and why they should support your company.
In this video, we worked with the Independent Colleges of Washington to refresh their story for their 60th anniversary.
What would you want your clients to know about your company if you had two minutes of their time?

How to Inspire Employees

Employees need reminders of the purpose of their work to stay engaged and motivated. It’s easy to lose the fire that launched one’s career in the press of our daily demands. This is one of the tasks of leadership—to kindle this fire with regular and authentic messages that help us return to our purposes.

In this video we developed as part of their Centennial messaging, Los Angeles’ White Memorial Medical Center celebrates the deeper purposes that drive their remarkable team to bring passion to their daily work. It reminds the hospital family—doctors, employees, volunteers and community stakeholders—why they do what they do, and why their work matters.

Leaders who want to inspire their employees to bring their best energies and ideas to work can draw from many tools—from their own conversations to a video like this, which speaks to both the visual and auditory senses. Its calm cadence and rich pictures provide a momentary oasis in the day where they can be drawn back to their core purposes. 

Almost all of the photos in this piece were custom shot, which made it a great value for the client. They finished the project with both a video, which was shown at their Centennial Gala and posted on their website and social media sites, and a library of authentic images representing their daily work.

How are you using communication to inspire your employees to do their best?

4 Ways to Build a Better Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is either created by design or by default. Good leaders know these secrets of building culture:

Tireless talk. There is never a time you can stop talking about the attributes of your culture that are important to you. Continuous repetition of simple, key messages—over and over again—help focus employees on what’s important to your organization.

Cohesiveness. Talk is only good if its consistent with policies and behaviors. You can nudge a culture in a direction by aiming a bit higher than reality, but if the gap is too wide, it will only create cynicism and disengagement. So yes, don’t talk until you’re ready to walk the talk.

Fresh presentation. Awaken the possibilities in your team by presenting the aspirational qualities of your brand in fresh, easy-to-digest ways. In the example above, the video infuses its centennial messaging with a warm, personal unfolding of what makes the hospital unique.

Let your employees talk. Instead of pushing out a corporate message, interview employees and let them tell others what it’s like to work in your organization. This provides an authentic voice that can be very persuasive.

15 Year Anniversary: Reflections on Running a Small Business

15 Year Anniversary Icon.jpg

I can’t think of a job I’d rather have. And so, on this 15th anniversary, allow me to share why it is that we love what we do—and are energized as we look to the future and contemplate even better ways to do our work. 

  1. We help other companies be successful. In partnership with their marketing and communication teams, we’re able to create communications that brings measurable successes.
  2. We’re creating jobs. It’s ever so gratifying to know that you are able to help others sustain themselves and their families by offering them meaningful work. Especially during a time of global financial instability, we feel like creating jobs is a very real way we can make a difference.
  3. Small is nimble. Having worked in national and international corporate settings (from which I learned much), I can say that I love the responsiveness that comes with being a small business owner. We can make decisions quickly—unhampered by long review and lead times or bureaucracies—changing course when needed in the blink of an eye.
  4. We have skin in the game. As a business owner, I don’t look at work as a stepping stone to my next job. This company is our destination—so we’re fully immersed in making it successful. This lends a continuity to a company because of the consistency of steady leadership.
  5. We are beholden to no stockholders. As a privately held company, we have the wonderful luxury of making decisions for the company that are in its long-term best interest—without being beholden to producing quarterly results that are sometimes produced at the cost of the future.
  6. We get to pick the people we work with. Most of us spend as much or more time during the week with our co-workers as we do with our families, and so the task of selecting high quality, motivated individuals who share one’s views of work is indeed one of the great benefits. In our company there are certain things we just don’t tolerate—laziness, sloppy work, lack of resourcefulness or an unwillingness to tackle whatever it is that needs to be done. The result is a highly productive, satisfying and collegial environment that allows individuals to do their best work—without wasting energy on distractions.
  7. It’s never boring. Not only do we work with all kinds of communication tools, but we work in different markets and in several industries—each of which teaches us something new.

The past 15 years of running this business have given us the chance to meet and learn from fascinating people doing interesting work. On any given day we might traverse the continent—talking with a client in LA in the morning and one in Denver in the afternoon. Each one brings energy, vision and their own unique approach to work that makes our lives interesting. We are always learning from and inspired by them.

Owning your own company isn’t for everyone. But for those of us who love to have a say in forging our futures, it’s the job of a lifetime—and not a day goes by but I am grateful to our team and our clients for being a part of this dream.

The Difference Between Good and Bad Writing is Sales

We decry the plethora of pedestrian copy that populates the world of business communication and sales. Why must it be boring? Tiresome? Mediocre?

An idea, after all, is no good whatsoever if you can’t communicate it to a prospective client, consumer, donor, board member, community leader. Surely an idea worth having is worth investing in the time and talent to convey its value. 

If you want a customers to change their buying or loyalty habits, your writing must do these three things:

  • Get their attention. (Yes, amid the noise of ALL the daily voices they hear.)
  • Get them to absorb your message. (Draw them in, hold their attention.)
  • Deliver something they care about—in a way that motivates engagement. (Not the job of novice writers.)

If your writing doesn’t reinforce the superiority of your product or service, doesn’t give them reasons to change or reinforce the consumer’s behavior or viewpoint, then it hasn’t done its job. Good writing is more than good grammar—it must move people to buy, try or support your product or service.

Need some inspiration? Here’s an example of a piece we wrote for our own website. We dare you to stop midway.

15 Year Anniversary: The Results are In!

The secret to success is often no secret—it’s execution. Pair good strategy with strong creative and a market need, and you can almost guarantee that you’ll see a shift in consumer behavior. We’ve seen it happen countless times.

If any one of those is off, however, it’s much harder to get results. But it’s can still be possible. In this motion graphic, you’ll see a few examples of some the most notable successes we’ve shared with our clients over the past 15 years.

Eight Reasons to Celebrate Your Company’s Anniversaries

CMBell Company was in Los Angeles at White Memorial Medical Center last week to begin work on the planning for their Centennial

CMBell Company was in Los Angeles at White Memorial Medical Center last week to begin work on the planning for their Centennial

A company anniversary provides an opportunity to breathe new life into your organization—to offer a kind of oasis in the press of daily work. A strategically planned anniversary celebration can:

  1. Recognize the people who make your success possible

  2. Deepen bonds with your community, customers and staff

  3. Inspire deeper engagement

  4. Infuse the workplace with meaning

  5. Shift internal focus from problems to achievements

  6. Reinforce your culture, mission and values

  7. Attract positive press

  8. Provide a foundation for casting vision for the future

There’s no rule about which anniversaries you should celebrate. Whether it’s f a 15th (ours, next year), a 20th, or a 100th, these occasions provide valuable time for reflection and celebration—both of which yield subtle but important fruits in the work place.

Client Showcase: St. Anthony North 40-Year Collateral Piece

This is the final piece in a campaign to promote St. Anthony North Hospital's achievements via its 40-year anniversary. This printed piece serves as both a direct mail and a brochure that tells the hospital's story and casts a vision for its future. The campaign theme, "We," celebrates the team's efforts in reaching this milestone, while creating enthusiasm for the hospital's future. It pairs well with the employee video, where we build on a reality-style production to show what "we" means. 

The campaign included transit, outdoor boards, mall displays, building banners, kinetic typograpy, Web content, videos and print ads.

The focus of the messaging was not just about their accomplishments and plans for the future, but was a way to celebrate the achievements of the team, which always infuses energy into an organization.

We can't wait to see what they do together in the next 40 years.

How are you celebrating the achievements of the people who make your business successful? What company do you know that does this well?

Hospital Anniversary Campaign: Entertain, Celebrate and Communicate with Video

We departed from the more serious style of the anniversary campaign interviews (which will post next Monday) to produce something fun that showcases the hospital employees, who were happily cooperative with some of our creative directing. We loved being able to capture the wonderful spirit of the people at St. Anthony Hospital North , and think this video not only does that, but can help generate internal enthusiasm for this celebration.

Whenever a production can be entertaining, it increases its chance of being distributed virally. While this one will be posted on their website, You Tube channel and Facebook page, we hope viewers will also send their friends links to the video.

Check back next week for the final installment of this campaign:

testimonial videos featuring the leaders of St. Anthony North.