milestones

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

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Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.
— Nelson Mandela

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.

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Energize your team

Your people have likely been working hard to get you to this milestone. They may have been laser-focused on reaching it and desperately in need of a win. Celebrating milestones does for companies what a win does for your favorite sports team: it energizes and re-engages the fans. It lifts the collective spirits of the team, which impacts how they work, how they interact with teammates, and how they treat customers.

Revisit Your “Why”

A close relative of celebrating the win is the chance to shine the light on the “why” that fuels your work. In the same way that a win energizes your team, a sense of purpose engages them. And since only about one-third of America’s workforce is engaged at work, a powerful presentation of your “why” can motivate your team to do their work better. Milestones and anniversaries present the ideal time to do this.

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Create Momentum

A milestone or anniversary signals success, which has a halo effect. It’s easy to conclude that if your company has been successful up to this point, then success must be in your future, as well. Celebrated with this in mind, a milestone can become fuel for future wins.

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Recognize Effort

Recognition is vital to engagement. Celebrating a milestone or anniversary is a perfect time to harness the power of recognition that creates stronger ties with the people you count on—employees, donors, volunteers, and customers.

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Cast a Vision

Celebrating your milestone or anniversary provides a platform for casting your vision for the future. Besides celebrating success, you now have the eyes on you and can deliver strategic messages that will inspire support.

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get noticed

Significant milestones or anniversaries make news and get your story in front of more people than you might normally reach. Capitalizing on this gives you another opportunity to get media attention and to be seen and heard.

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Reinforce Your Culture

The ideas that got you to milestone or anniversary are important. Reinforcing them at a time like this gives people more reasons to connect with your company and resonate with your values and mission. Those who know your story will have a chance to re-enter it; those who don’t, can experience it for the first time.

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your contribution message

Most of your marketing campaigns are focused on a product or service, and don't leave room for the contribution message. Milestones or anniversaries are the perfect place to unpack how you're giving and supporting your community or industry.

THERE’S NO RULE ABOUT WHICH MILESTONES YOU SHOULD CELEBRATE. Whenever you have a story to tell, however, a milestone or anniversary gives your message immediacy—which makes it more likely to get traction.

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THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON to invest in celebrating a company anniversary or milestone is to use it as a platform to tell your story and energize your supporters. Here are some ways you can tell your story.

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1

Use your own spaces to tell your story

Why shouldn’t every person who enters your facility be met by your story? Since there are no media buying fees, this is an affordable option that reaches both your external and internal audience. Consider:


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2

Create new events and use existing
events to tell your story

You already have standing events internally—so why not bring your milestone or anniversary story into them? Show your video, bring your pop-up banners, and share printed material at your:

  • Community events

  • Company picnics, parties, or barbecues


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3

Create a digital landing page

Dedicate a web page to your milestone messages, complete with timelines, video, and content about your successes.

This can be on your existing website or a freestanding digital landing page that links to your website. It should be where you point all digital traffic to so you can track your analytics.


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4

For major milestones, create a digital or print history brochure or book

Sharing your history isn’t about dates, but about showing how your company has faced and overcome challenges, handled pivotal moments, and built successes. Revisiting these reveals how your mission and values have driven your organization in the past, and offers wisdom for the future. See examples here.


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5

Create a Video Strategy

A video strategy should include determining the type of videos you want and how you plan to distribute them. Here are a few ideas for milestone or anniversary videos (see more below):

  • Celebration video that showcases successes.

  • History video that shows the growth and struggles of the organization that have led to this moment. This can be a longer narrated or interview-driven video, or a short motion graphic, depending on the goals.

  • Interviews with historic voices.


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6

Create some versatile
communication tools

  • Create a milestone or anniversary icon to use on social media and promo materials.

  • Create a business card that says “Thanks for being part of our story" and can be used to drive traffic to your landing page.


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7

Provide story ideas to
your target audience media

  • Look for fresh angles that connect to your specific audience.


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8

Create a social media campaign
that engages your audience

  • Create a calendar of posts that unpack your key messages.

  • Use shortened clips from your videos and other communication content as social media posts.

  • Have a photographer and videographer at key events to create social media content.


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9

Give back

  • Adopt a local cause for a year.

  • Sponsor a charity.

  • Sponsor a community event that reflects your values.


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10

Say thanks

Find ways to thank the people who were behind the success, like:

  • Writing personal note cards to clients, donors, and key employees.

  • Giving exclusive gifts to major contributors.

  • Honor key people at events.

 

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ONCE YOU’VE DECIDED TO CELEBRATE your milestone or anniversary, here are the first things you’ll want to do.

1. identify the business goal you want to achieve

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You don’t need another event to plan, another communication plan to make, unless it is going to advance your strategy or align with your values. So be clear on this from the start, and make sure you have buy-in from all of the key players who will be needed to make this successful.


2. Create a plan, budget, and timeline

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Sometimes your administrative team will ask you to propose a budget, or sometimes they will give you a budget in advance. If you’re proposing a budget, linking it to a compelling business strategy and desired outcomes can help you obtain funding. You can download this editable plan as a starting point.


3. Identify your team

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Who needs to be involved in the planning—and at what phase? Leaving out critical team members, like security, for example, can create internal chaos, so don’t shortchange yourself at this step. Teams that will be heavily involved in the work need advance notice to provision staffing and resources.


4. Secure key dates

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Make a quick check with other calendars to be sure there isn’t another big competing event happening that would impact your audience. And whether you’ll have one or several events, make sure the dates get on the calendars of key people. That list may include leaders, board members, donors, volunteers, venues, caterers, and speakers.


5. identify key messages

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What are the top two or three ideas you want everyone to know when this is over? These will inform all of your communication planning going forward.


Need some inspiration?

SUMMARY

FOR A SUBSTANTIAL ANNIVERSARY, like 100 years, a major corporation may spend one or two years planning, while a smaller business might spend a few months. Whatever you decide, make it a celebration that infuses fun, wisdom, and gratitude into your organization.

 
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You can grow your business.

Use Your Communication Tools to Celebrate Successes

Every company has a story.
 
And as professional communicators, one of our most significant roles is to keep the purpose of our organization in front of employees, donors, supporters and customers—and to do it in ways that inspire them. We need to be intentional about seeing that messages about cost-control, quality and other business goals do not eclipse the stories that depict the grander purpose of our institution.
 
In this piece, our client took the time to celebrate the successes of a shared goal—a campaign to strengthen the future of their school. We worked with them to express their message visually in the design of a piece that honors the efforts of countless volunteers, donors and employees—and furthers the narrative of the school’s worth. Successes like these inspire and fuel other successes.
 
Let’s be proactive about tending our organization’s narrative. How are you using your communication tools to celebrate your successes and inspire employees, volunteers and donors to work on behalf of your purpose?

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 Awards for Creative Work

Creative work developed by CMBell Company and clients has received one gold and one bronze award from the Aster Awards competition.

Entries are judged by design and health care marketing professionals on creativity, design, typography, production, quality and overall effectiveness.

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

CMBell Company and Clients Win Three Awards for Creative Work

Creative work developed by CMBell Company and clients has received one bronze and two merit awards from the 12th Annual Service Industry Awards competition.

A bronze award was given for Walla Walla University’s Student Employment—Employer Calendar/Direct Mail.

 

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A merit award was given for Walla Walla University’s Student Employment Kit.

A merit award was given for Independent Colleges of Washington’s 60-year anniversary video.

Approximately 1,500 entries were received in this year’s competition, which was judged by a national panel of experts. The entries were judged on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact.

CMBell Company and Clients Win Four Awards for Creative Work

Creative work developed by CMBell Company and clients has received one platinum, two gold and one honorable mention award from the MarCom Awards competition, an international marketing awards program.

A platinum award was given for Walla Walla University’s Student Employment Kit.


A gold award was given for Key Technology’s 2013 shareholder’s presentation video.


A second gold award was given for one of many videos produced for LA-based White Memorial Medical Center’s Centennial Gala Celebration program.


The honorable mention award also went to White Memorial Medical Center, for another video created for their centennial celebration that honors employees.

Judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talents exceed a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry. More than 6,500 entries were submitted from throughout the United States, Canada and 15 other countries.

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

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Littleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Web Page

Littleton Adventist Hospital 25-year Anniversary Elevator Wraps