Your company’s centennial is on the radar—but too far out to be concerned? Or it’s in 6 months? Suddenly you need to move ahead. What’s the plan?
There are “5 P’s” that can make your celebration a memorable success. After helping hundreds of companies celebrate major anniversaries with One Of A Kind 3-dimensional commemorative art, we are always impressed by the same five best practices that maximize an anniversary’s success:
Plan Promote Party Praise Preserve
This is one of the most fun, gratifying projects you’ll ever work on—and more so when it’s not a crisis situation. It takes time to go through boxes and drawers to discover archival material that give a celebration more meaning. Two years before Andersen Windows’ 100th anniversary, their Director of Communications designated a Centennial Manager to oversee planning of the celebration. We visited Andersen’s Bayport, Minnesota headquarters for a tour of operations and participation by key stakeholders. These included the Chairman and 4th generation Sarah Andersen. Creating a strategy provided ample time to build consensus on what Andersen wished to communicate. We also had the opportunity to review/edit archives in several storage areas.
This on-site research was invaluable to appreciate their unique story and edit material. When Lawrence found a pile of wood in the corner he asked, “What’s this?” As the original “10-Minute Window” that revolutionized the industry, it turned out to be a perfect 3D design element for the art.
Our brainstorming and on-site research inspired Lawrence Romorini to feature the beauty of the St. Croix River, where Andersen has been located for a century. It reflects the company’s consistency, even as it evolved. The river also was essential in early years to transport logs for wood used in creating the windows. The overall structure was suggested by the Chairman.
“Could you possibly use a contemporary Andersen Window for the frame?”
There’s a powerful juxtaposition between the 10-Minute Window and the latest Andersen Window. The luxury of time enables creative ideas such as this to emerge.
Andersen used the art to unveil their centennial celebration. Over 15 years later, the lobby art remains an overview of their story for corporate headquarter tours.
- Andersen used their 100th anniversary art in other ways throughout their centennial year:
- -Reproduced in 10,000 posters for all employees
-Sent as box-framed prints to all locations
-Featured in Andersen publications
Anniversary promotion can build anticipation for the celebration and underscore the significance of the occasion. Edward C. Levy Companies sent out a “Call for Memorabilia” to contribute to their centennial art. The collage became a collaboration with a payoff at the celebration, when participants saw their vintage photos and memorabilia as part of their company’s artwork. A longtime employee could proudly point out, “I contributed that!”
Be sure to contact local news outlets and trade publications to cover the importance of your company’s anniversary to its community. Every anniversary ending in a zero or five is a significant one. The uniqueness of corporate custom-made 3-dimensional art makes it a perfect photo opportunity with key leaders to accompany a press release.
Your history reflects success, and the longevity builds trust with customers. Using your anniversary as a tool to reach out to your customers is a practical business anniversary idea that can strengthen the relationship. Make sure your website features the company anniversary and your story. Include anniversary collateral in your direct mail and social media campaigns.
“An anniversary is a good moment to recommit to what should never change,” Judith Rodin states in a 2012 Harvard Business Review article. That is why our clients so often wish to feature values, mission, and dynamic leadership in their 3-dimensional commemorative art. Photoengraved in metal and featured as cornerstones – surrounding photos, publications, and actual 3D items as a border – typographical messages underscore the facets that distinguish an institution—and should never change.
Our clients party in amazing, wonderful ways, from picnics on the premises with hot dogs, to galas at the Waldorf Astoria. The celebrations include employees, customers, longtime vendors, and community leaders. Often a month is selected for optimal weather, so the event can be outside, offering more room and accommodating more people. Other times it is a yearlong anniversary party, with surprises for each month of the calendar.
Greater New York Mutual Insurance Company celebrated their 100th anniversary by unveiling One Of A Kind 3-dimensional commemorative artwork. The event provided an opportunity to express appreciation and to reflect on the proud heritage that takes GNY Insurance into the next century. Around the border is an engraved timeline highlighting important milestones and events. The art is installed in GNY’s corporate headquarters as an overview of their story for visitors and a legacy of their first 100 years. We created Holiday Cards with the artwork to share their centennial milestones.
You can cast a broad net in expressing thanks to all who have contributed to your company’s success. Reach out to founders, founders’ families, longtime leaders and their families to recognize them at an anniversary celebration.
Ms. Rodin’s Harvard Business Review article concludes with, “Imbue your commemoration with the understanding that looking back can be more than mere nostalgia for the past. It can inform a whole body of work for the future.”
Reliable Automatic Sprinkler, a leading American manufacturer & distributor of fire protection equipment, collaborated with artist Lawrence Romorini to create commemorative 3-dimensional art for their 100th anniversary. A progression of four generations of Fee family leadership and an evolution of sprinklers brings the story current, where, at the base, an array of state-of-the art products take the company into the next century. An interactive website feature shares their 100-year story.
The company also honored the family leadership with contemporary, personalized awards. These custom awards are a great way to recognize distinguished leaders, and make for a perfect display in an office or home.
Bartlett Tree Experts’ centennial art celebrates three generations of Bartlett leadership and the company’s expertise. The backdrop is a slice of a 100-year old tree, with Bartlett “First’s” featured in the border typography. Bartlett locations received framed commemorative posters and a numbered descriptive key. The art was reproduced in 100th anniversary posters for offices nationwide.
After the anniversary, leave a legacy that will be appreciated for years to come. Organizing the archives for future generations is a good start. To add to the archives, One Of A Kind provides a free CD with images used in the art, scanned, retouched and ready for future reproductions.
With One Of A Kind 3-dimensional art, highlights from the archives can continue communicating your story and mission every day to staff and visitors in a fascinating lobby display, such as Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen’s, a 4-generation family law firm. Their 100th anniversary art was uploaded on their website as an interactive feature with descriptive key and reproduced for each location.
Reproduced as a commemorative brochure with descriptive key and as an interactive website feature, you share your history, leaders and accomplishments far into the future. Years later, posters from Tech International, Marriott, Boar’s Head, USA Today, Cisco Systems, and more are no doubt still on display.
Milestone anniversaries are an exciting, unique opportunity. Please let us know how we can help you PLAN, PROMOTE, PARTY, PRAISE, PRESERVE!