Celebrating an anniversary? Here are our helpful hints and tips

Every year we are asked by at least one of our clients to help them to celebrate an anniversary, whether it be 25, 50, 60, 75 or 100 years or more, which is a great opportunity to raise awareness and generate interest in a business.  As we specialise in business to business (b2b) Public Relations and particularly in Construction and Manufacturing sectors, we have lots of experience in this area.

Here we give you some top tips for making the most of Public Relations around your anniversary:

  1. Start planning early

The key to getting the most out of an anniversary is good planning.  You need to plan early because organising an event takes time.  Select a small committee internally (at least six months before the anniversary year starts) who are responsible for deciding on the main events and activities to take place throughout the year and will be responsible for organising them.   Hold regular meetings and welcome any new ideas.  Make sure you keep a log of activities, which should be allocated to individuals or small groups with specific deadlines, just to ensure everything keeps on track.   Release the date of the main event/s to staff and main customers/suppliers as a ‘save the date’ so they are aware well in advance.

  1. Build up a historic display

If your company has a long history (eg over 25 years) it is a good idea to appeal to staff, retired employees and community members to send in photographs from over the years.  These will probably come in various formats, but they need to be collated and reproduced (which can be done at most of the main high street photo processing outlets) in a similar size and mounted for display.  Set up a display area in a part of the building that is not used regularly and start adding to it regularly – you will be amazed at the response you could get!  Make this display available to staff, visitors, customers and suppliers throughout the anniversary week – you could even keep some of the best photos on display in reception afterwards for the rest of the year!

  1. Your primary focus should be a celebration event

It’s a great idea to hold a major event as the focal point for your company’s anniversary.  Don’t worry too much about holding it on the exact week or month that your company was founded if that doesn’t fit in with your plans.  Much better to hold it in a convenient month, ideally spring to summer when the weather’s better for an outdoor event and people are more likely to attend.  If possible, hold the event at the company’s head office, as you will find that more people are likely to attend that way.  If you don’t have space inside, consider a marquee on the grounds or car park with outside catering.

Theme the event up to the year you are celebrating, if possible.  For example, use gold decorations for 50 years, diamond for 60 years etc…  Invite retired employees of the company, staff, key customers and local and trade media to attend.  From a news point of view, it makes sense to link the anniversary with a positive announcement by the company, for example, new jobs created, a new contract won, investment etc.. 

If this is possible, the news release should focus on what the company has achieved or how it has grown over the past 50 or so years.

  1. Don’t forget it’s the anniversary year you are celebrating, not just one day.

Create an anniversary logo.  It just needs to be something simple that reflects how many years the company has been in business, that can be used on press releases, invitations, letterheads and around the event during that anniversary year.  This helps to raise awareness and the anniversary and reinforce your branding.

  1. Create a celebratory brochure to hand out at the event or mailed out to customers

It’s a good idea to produce a brochure to give out at the anniversary event or to send out afterwards.  This should showcase your company’s history and highlights over the years, celebrating the major milestones and achievements.  It should contain historic and up to date photos of people, plant and equipment with anecdotes and stories gleaned from current and retired staff and an introduction from the current CEO or Managing Director. 

  1. Centre your activities around generating a common good eg local charity or community project

Link up with a charitable or community organisation that is local to the business or that employees care about.  Look to give away the anniversary number of product or for say 50 volunteer members of staff would be given a day off to help out at that organisation, or at a community project, such as clearing up a local park.  This would make great local publicity, would be linked to your organisation’s values and would generate goodwill and awareness in the community.

  1. Run a competition – via social media

For a bit of fun – and added interest at the event, why not create a historic picture quiz – pull together 10 photos from over the decades and ask guests at the event to guess the year?  This could also be run as a quiz on social media, generating interest and Likes the business.  A fun way to share some of the most memorable images from over the decades.

  1. Recognise the valued input of employees

It is a good idea to use the anniversary as a way to celebrate the input of employees over the years.  If numbers permit, invite employees to the celebratory event, also produce an anniversary gift, like a special celebratory pen or mug that can be distributed to staff. 

If the company has too many staff to invite to the main event, why not keep the display of historic images open during the anniversary week and invite staff to bring along family members for a couple of hours one evening, with light snacks and refreshments available.  This is a good way to motivate employees and raise morale, giving staff a feeling of involvement in the anniversary celebrations.

  1. Don’t forget the cake!

You need a photo-opportunity, so why not organise an anniversary cake to be made?    Cutting the cake is always a great PR opportunity, so why not ask your longest serving employee and the latest Apprentice to cut the cake together for the photo opportunity. 

  1. Video is essential

Creating a video is a must for any significant anniversary.  These days with video becoming much more accessible, it is not as expensive to make a good corporate video outlining some of the highlights over the years and capturing some old footage.  There are many high street and online stores which can reproduce old cine film and videos onto DVD.  This footage could be shown at the anniversary event, throughout the historic photo display and could be hosted on the company’s Youtube channel afterwards.   It makes a great momento of the anniversary and it is surprising how well received and shared videos are when placed online.

Crucial to making sure your business benefits from any anniversary celebrations is securing coverage in the press. Whether it’s the construction or manufacturing trade press, regional or national media, we can help.  We can also manage your social media strategy to maximise interest and engagement around your anniversary year.

For more information or help with organising Public Relations for your anniversary event, talk to our PR team on 01709 300132 or email hello@dragonflypr.co.uk.

Call us on: 0114 349 5341