You don't have to be a 350-year-old global powerhouse such as Saint-Gobain to implement a smart, sophisticated program that will build buzz and business on your anniversary.

Regardless of whether you're marking your first, fifth, 10th or 20th anniversary, follow these tips to make the most of it:

Carmen Ferrigno, Vice President, Communications and Branding, North America Region at Saint-Gobain:

1.) Use your past to frame your future. In other words, only focus 20-25 percent on your past accomplishments. That will allow you to talk about 75 to 80 percent about where you are going.

2.) It's not about you. It's about them. You've reached a milestone thanks to the way in which your employees have impacted the world, helped customers to do the same, and will continue to do so. Get that third-party advocacy.

3.) Semper Gumby: Always be flexible as you mark your anniversary. Be open to change, and look for opportunities to have fun throughout the year. Major milestone anniversaries come once in a career (I've done two), so enjoy it.

4.) Fast. Focused. Flexible. Those are the hallmarks of making the most of your anniversary.

Here are three more tips from Samuel E. Kirk, Executive Director, Youth About Business:

5.) Celebrate your successes! On your anniversary date, take time to celebrate the organization's successes and thank everyone who has been part of the journey, including current and previous clients and board members.

6.) Create a new program or offering. Dream about the future. At Youth About Business, we're marking our 25th anniversary by introducing Legacy Funders, a new level of outside funding to continue our ability to better prepare the leaders of tomorrow. Each Legacy Funder will provide a one-time legacy gift, allowing us to expand permanent funding and develop a long-term infrastructure.

7.) Complement your brand. You've worked hard to establish your brand. So, why not take it to the next level? Consider a strategic partnership with a well-known organization. This sounds relatively simple, but keep in mind that the partner must believe in your organization's mission and make sure it aligns with their values. We've just created the "Founder's Circle," a group of 25 corporations and individuals who are committed to investing back into the lives of youth. Who could you consider partnering with to expand your organization's reach?

And three more from Gene Longobardi, Chief Operating Officer, Online Trading Academy:

8.) Connect whatever you do to your brand promise. Use your anniversary celebration to build upon your legacy, and what the organization is best known for. It's a best practice that will extend your core message and resonate with brand loyalists and employees alike.

9.) Extend the experience beyond the actual anniversary date. Milestone anniversaries should engage, and inspire, well beyond the day your company was started. Great anniversary programming takes place over the course of more than a year, and should leverage key events or milestones throughout. For example, we're celebrating our 20th anniversary in June 2017. But we've already started seeding the message.

10.) Make the campaign one of your most important initiatives. Assign the project to your best internal "brand champions" who have exceptional project management and communications skills and a passion for the campaign objective. Assign a company officer to own and drive the campaign.

I'd conclude these 10 tips by adding a few things we did to mark our 20th anniversary:

  • Run celebratory advertisements to let the entire industry know about your accomplishment. Issue a press release as well. And don't forget to update your e-mail signatures and website. Trumpet the news!
  • Hold a themed party for your key employees and the customers who have made a difference over the years.
  • Create branded merchandise to give to employees and every other key audience. If you do it right, the SWAG can become keepsakes. People still talk about the pepper shakers we sent to our key constituents when we marked our fifth anniversary. And that was 16 years ago!

Disclosure: Saint-Gobain, Youth About Business, and Online Trading Academy are Peppercomm clients.

Published on: Oct 3, 2016