You may have noticed our new logo. Click here to learn more about its story.

In Search of the Big Idea: Things to Think About When Brainstorming Ideas For Your Company’s Anniversary

November 18, 2021 • Jason Dressel

Companies routinely come to The History Factory and to because they’re looking for ideas for their upcoming company anniversary. A common approach includes some combination of the following activities:

  • Benchmarking what competitors have done
  • Brainstorming ideas with an anniversary task force
Just like how a boxer wins a match by landing repeated blows round after round, a great anniversary plan will succeed through the careful execution of consistent and targeted communications to key audiences.

All of these approaches are a good place to start. Yet we’ve found that teams are sometimes so wrapped around the axle on what they’re going to do that they forget that what really matters is doing it! In our experience, we’ve found that it’s the little details that make an anniversary program magic. We all know that great marketing and communications is won like most boxing matches: consistent blows round after round after round. Rare is the boxer who succeeds throwing all knockout punches. The “big idea” anniversary approach is similar: At the expense of a lot of energy, it rarely lands the punch.

The anniversary celebration program can and should be highly creative and have some surprises. But most important, the anniversary needs to be authentic to your company’s culture and brand. IBM’s centennial won awards and got a ton of press in part because it was a great program and in part because it’s IBM. Few companies have the media star power and resources of IBM. But here’s a tip that everyone can take from IBM’s successful centennial: When you look at the tactics, they weren’t “big ideas” resulting from any groundbreaking or revolutionary thinking. They were relatively familiar tactics that were executed in an innovative and smart way. A brilliant approach for the company that has shifted from Big Blue to Let’s Build a Smarter Planet.

The big ideas may not be what you do but how you do them in order to accomplish your goals and resonate with your audiences. And those ideas tend to be little insights that are found by looking inward rather than outward.


More About Corporate Anniversaries & Milestones

In Conversation: CES With Gary Shapiro of the Consumer Technology Association

As part of the leadup to the Consumer Electronics Show… Read More

Golden Nugget of the Month: Challenge Coins and USAA’s Legacy

The following story highlights a cherished military… Read More

Archives and Anniversaries: A Match Made in Content Heaven

There are things you simply don’t do. You don’t put ketchup on a Chicago hot… Read More

Ideas to Celebrate Your 25th Company Anniversary

If you’re older than 25, do you remember your 25th birthday and what you did… Read More