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Anniversary Celebrations!!
OK, your company or brand has an anniversary coming up.
What to do or not to do, that is the question (with thanks to Shakespeare!)
These are the questions I am most commonly asked:
1. Should we celebrate and why should we celebrate?
    a. To enhance the brand?
    b. to bring renewed attention to an "aging" brand?
    c For public relations purposes?
    d. To inform customers and increase their comfort level with a product or service? People do love nostalgia! And
they like to know that a company will be around if they have a problem in the future. Knowing a company's history can raise the comfort level of the consumer.
    e. For educating staff? (I often find that staff know little about their company's history, including people in PR, Marketing and Communications Departments. I often know more than they do. Not good!)
     f. To just have fun!
2. Which anniversary should we celebrate? 5th? 25th 60th? 100th?
I have worked with clients on both major anniversaries and what one might consider minor - - i.e. 5th or 60th. For varying reasons, decisions were made to celebrate these. This is individual to each company, not-for-profit or product. It is one way to bring renewed attention to an aging brand or to celebrate a product that made it to five years as many don't. There is no one answer.
3. How long should we celebrate: A day? A month? A year?
4. Should the celebration just be internal? Or not?
5. What part, if any, should cause-related marketing play? Should we, they ask, team up with a not-for-profit celebrating an anniversary? If a company is a not-for-profit, they ask if they should do research into which for-profits are having an anniversary the same year.
6. Do we have what we need to celebrate? A collection of historic documents? Photographs? Information about how past anniversaries were celebrated? Knowledge of where we can fill in the blanks in our history?
7. Should we involve the staff at all levels in the planning and implementation?
8. Do we need specialists to help us? Historians? Researchers? Curators?
The answer to these questions will be different for each company, but there are certain basic ideas that I have seen implemented and some thoughts based on being involved with many anniversary projects.
a. The anniversary celebrations need to be both integrated into overall marketing plans and also separate.
If the event, etc. clashes with the basic marketing message, then it just won't work. But also has to be different as well as consistent with the overall marketing message and strategy.
b. Celebrations that are at least a month long work better than one day or a week. It takes time to get the word out. Many celebrate for a year. A one day sale just doesn't cut it.
c. Cause-related marketing is very productive in terms of PR.
d. Involving the staff at all levels is beneficial. It gives them ownership, helps make each person a better
sales person for the company no matter what his/her position, and can enhance loyalty.
e. It saves time and money to involve staff and/or hire specialists who have had experience in planning and implementing anniversary celebrations. It also helps if they know where to conduct research if necessary and can put the history of a company into historic perspective - i.e. what was happening in the world when your company was founded? While it may be easier to conduct research on-line, many collections of records are not on-line and it is often necessary to go to archives and other repositories.
Weather Vanes and Store Signs:
A few years ago, I went to the Museum of American Folk Art on 53rd between 5th and 6th Avenues in Manhattan. One group of objects on display are weather vanes and another is of signs. My favorite is the VERY big tooth which hangs from the ceiling. These objects tell a story as well as being a kind of a logo for a business in some cases. They were not made as works of art but over time have become such. I wonder which icons and logos today will be considered art someday. Should that even matter? I don't know.
What do you all think?  I do know it is worth a visit there.
The gift shop is full of objects too. I now am the proud owner of a pink plastic owl ring with eyes that move and a flower pin made from newspaper and painted!
Until next week  In the meantime, please share your corporate or not-for-profit anniversary celebrations stories. If you prefer not to name the company, no problem. Please let me know if I can include your comments in future blogs and your name as well.
Phyllis Barr, President
Corporate Culture Marketing by
Barr Consulting Services
& The Corporate Acculturation Management Practice
Corporate Culture Marketing assists
companies with leveraging the history
and heritage of a company, brand or
not-for-profit as a marketing or fundraising tool.
It specializes in leveraging anniversary
celebrations as a marketing or fundraising tool.
Services: Consulting; Research; Editing;
Writing: Curating; Creating Knowledge
Banks;  Conducting Oral History interviews; Assisting
companies with corporate culture clash after
a merger; writing history pageants.

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