You’re proud! Feeling a little nostalgic! You’ve busted your hump helping the company get to this monumental point.
Your company is turning 50 (60 or 100) years old and you want to celebrate. You want to shout it from the rooftops! Because let’s be honest, it’s no easy feat for a manufacturer to stay relevant and profitable for half a century (or longer). Let’s get loud! Let’s tell our customers how old we are. How capable we are. Remind them that this is just another reason they should love us. Happy Anniversary to us!
Truth is, customers don’t really care. UNLESS there’s something in it for them. They are included in the video down memory lane, are asked to participate in the festivities or are given a memento. So, before you spend money on your milestone celebration, here’s how to get a bigger bang for your buck and make it count.
One Way to Make Your Anniversary Count
Of course, you have options. There are three ways to approach your milestone and one way to make it count.
1 – SLAP A GOLD STICKER ON IT
Maybe you’ve done this in the past; highlight your milestone year with a lovely gold foil sticker attached to every catalog, brochure and invoice to let the world know that you are, in fact, FIF-TEH! No thought or creativity, just a sticker. This one-way communication might have had validity in the 50’s, but it is not effective in today’s “catch my attention if you can” society. As a result, it’s a one-hit wonder and forgotten as fast as Blue Swede in the 70’s.
2 – I WANNA TALK ABOUT ME
A second way you can choose to celebrate your milestone year is by talking about YOU all year long. Every ad and social media tweet or post, article and POP display lets the world know that you are FIF-TEH and proud of it. Reminds me of the Toby Keith song, “I Wanna Talk About Me”. It’s definitely something to be proud of and shows longevity and viability to be in business for such a long time, but it’s all about you and not your customers, employees or vendors. Just you talking about you…all year long can be costly and, consequently, ineffective!
3 – ACT OF AUTHENTICITY
The third way you can choose to celebrate your milestone year is by fully engaging your audience and making it a year of giving. Your celebration then becomes an act of authenticity that matters to the right people. (the people who support your business) This kind of gesture creates a bevy of ways for you to interact with, honor and give thanks to the people who helped your company make the journey. It’s all about you AND them.
Giving Instead of Taking
Furthermore, approaching your milestone with the intention of giving all year instead of taking (their attention, for one) opens up limitless opportunities for you to engage your audience by honoring your past while looking to the future, celebrating your growth and innovation and honoring decades of relationships with customers, employees, and vendors. Increased engagement, participation and word of mouth happen when you give people a reason to celebrate with you. This list is just a starting point:
- 50 Days of Giving something away through social media
- 50 Testimonials Video featuring long-time customers and employees
- Find the Golden Ticket in a load or pallet and win a prize
- Gold Nuggets of Wisdom shared through your blog or eNews
- Going for the Gold employee incentive program
Below is a fantastic example from fabric manufacturer, Cordura. They created a special 50th-anniversary website, chalk full of customer-centric content, innovation timeline, stories, images, videos and opportunities to connect and purchase. Their social media feeds created a flurry of activity all year long, with enough cake, stories, and love to last a lifetime.
“A winning effort begins with preparation.” -Joe Gibbs
Start with Why
First of all, any successful event or celebration that has a lasting impact starts with a plan. And a thoughtful strategy starts with your why. When you know why you’re doing something, how to do it becomes crystal clear. A multi-channel plan that activates and optimizes the most customer touch points will create a cohesive and consistent experience all year long that’s engaging, memorable and effective. And, let’s go out on a limb and say, fun!
5 Essential Components for a Customer-Centric Anniversary Celebration
- Timeline & Analytics
The two components here that are too often overlooked are strategy and substance. Without a clear strategy, you get caught up in reacting mode—loose ends, last minute half-hearted efforts and unconnected touch points.
And, in addition, by creating an abundance of content (substance), you make available a well-spring from which to draw all year long—albeit an article, blog post, ad or tweet. Proactive and easier, especially across teams (sales, marketing, distributors).
Give your salespeople, staff, vendors and the press something worth consuming and talking about.
Attention is the Greatest Anniversary Gift
Your customers buy from you because they trust you to solve their problem and grow their business. They feel good doing business with you. They see themselves in you. And, as human beings, we all have a need to be recognized and included.
One of the greatest gifts you can give back to the people who buy from you, work for you and with you is your attention, your creativity, and your gratitude by shining the milestone light on them instead of you. As a result, your celebration will actually mean something to them and generate a bigger bang for your anniversary buck.
Already reach the big FIVE-OH? How did you include vendors, employees, and customers?