Business anniversaries are the vanilla of the events season. How can you acknowledge what is, after all, an indicator of the success your company has worked so hard for in a way that actually helps drive your business, instead of resting on your laurels? Anyone tasked with planning a business anniversary event needs to ask themselves: why are we having this party? Realistically, you can’t spend company funds on an event just for the sake of celebration. The event has to have a strategic business goal. You need to identify the stakeholders you want to reach, and figure out what you want the event to accomplish within that audience. Here are five tips to help your organization be strategic while it celebrates.
1. Know that it’s not just about you
People don’t want to attend an event that is all about the company history, which usually means a long, boring speech from the CEO (exceptions can be made for a company’s 100th anniversary). Reinforce your brand, and acknowledge the past and future, in innovative ways. Utilize multimedia, staging, even food to make it an event to remember (in a good way).
2. It can’t be just a party
There must be another driver, a strategic business goal such as a vehicle to bond
with clients, an opportunity to thank the community, or an effort to motivate
employees, to name just a few possibilities. Those objectives drive everything else.
3. Put it in the budget
No matter the objective, well-planned events cost money. The higher the anniversary number, the longer it takes to plan. In my experience, if your company is celebrating an anniversary of 75 years or more, you’ll need a full year to plan. Don’t have your top executives just “pop in.”
4. Bring in the top brass
Have vice president and C-level executives accessible for networking throughout the event. These are the people who most directly represent your company, its values, and its future. Leverage them. Employee events that are an afterthought or half-hearted will hurt morale.
5. Go all out
Recognize the importance of your people, make them feel invested in, and truly honored. If the objective is employee appreciation, put the focus on them Give out funny awards, name a speciality drink after someone. Opening the event to friends and family also shows appreciation. Rewards are always a good way to boost morale. If the milestone being celebrated is significant, make sure the reward is, too. For its 100th anniversary, Pepsi Bottling gave employees $1,000 for every year they were with the company.
Cassie Brown is the chief experience officer at TCG Events, an award-winning, full-service event planning company whose work includes milestone, nonprofit, and corporate events, as well as grand openings and more. TCG Events specializes in planning and executing corporate events with the company’s proprietary EventSmarter approach, which includes a detailed pre-event walk-through that covers every facet from the perspective of the attendee, to ensure absolute success.