October 3, 2019 • Sam Grabel
The buzzword of the day is innovation. Every business strives for the next big thing, and how they can continue to improve upon processes, business plans and ultimately the bottom line. It can feel counterintuitive, then, to say that a company anniversary celebration, which generally focuses on the past, is a perfect place to showcase innovation—specifically, technological innovation.
When History Factory was founded 40 years ago, the most innovative parts of company anniversary celebrations were branded and commemorative balloons, mugs and pens. Today, with the internet of things and technology moving at a faster pace than ever before, it seems a missed opportunity not to leverage new and exciting technologies. Here are some interesting ideas to spice up your anniversary celebrations that include the use of technology.
What innovative and exciting products can you showcase on a grand scale? Putting these products center stage not only generates buzz but also shows that your product works well. The possibilities for how you can use technology to showcase your innovations, past or present, are endless. For example, Intel celebrated its 50th anniversary by setting the Guinness World Record for the biggest and brightest synchronized drone light show.
The drones coordinated to show important scenes and icons from throughout the company’s history, but even without that programming built into the show, it was truly a spectacle to behold. Even if the show was simply a PR tactic to raise awareness about the 50th, people are now sure to remember the company’s drone coordination capabilities in addition to its well-known computer processors.
Holograms are no longer far-fetched ideas from science fiction movies like Star Wars. They are here, and they’re being used in some interesting ways. One of these ways is to bring back deceased figures for a performance: At Coachella, Tupac Shakur graced the stage, and a hologram tour with Whitney Houston is in the planning stages.
Just think of how this could be adapted to bring back a founder to deliver a keynote speech. We’ve seen companies use “time travelers” (actors) to play important figures from the past. A hologram could add a layer of authenticity, especially if it involves the use of a real recording of a past speech that is still applicable today.
Holograms could also be a good strategy to bring keynote speakers to employees around the world. Microsoft Lab’s HoloLens uses artificial intelligence to project and translate speeches. This technology could have a tremendous impact on multinational corporations where there is not a common language. Think of the uniting potential of a simulcast keynote speech transmitted to locations around the world in 20 different languages.
Most people carry around an incredibly powerful computer in their pockets: their smartphone. You can leverage that built-in technological capability by using augmented reality to help people understand important events and innovations from history or to bring people back to a specific time period.
Depending on the scope of your anniversary celebration, it is important to have a dedicated webpage for the anniversary where you can share content—including stories about the past, present and future—that support your anniversary objectives.
In 2018, ISACA, a professional organization dedicated to IT governance, celebrated its 50th anniversary. On the anniversary microsite, ISACA invited visitors to participate in the anniversary year as well as learn more about the organization and its history through written and video content as well as digitized archival documents and artifacts.
A microsite offers an easy way for people—within and outside of the organization—to connect with the anniversary from wherever they are in the world.
Everyone and their mothers are on social media—for better or for worse. In order to generate buzz, social platforms are now the preferred form of communication for many companies. Use social media to promote some of the other content that you’ve created for the anniversary: written, video or other visual content. Create an anniversary hashtag and ask employees and other participants to record their memories using that hashtag.
Exhibit those posts in real time on a large display for everyone to see at anniversary events. Some companies, like Picture Mosaics, allow you to make a mosaic in real time using a photo booth or hashtagged images. It’s a fun way to get people engaged that creates a feeling that each individual participant is part of a larger experience.
Each day, new and exciting technologies are concepted, developed and released. Don’t fall into a pattern of repeating stale tactics to celebrate your anniversary. Generate excitement about your company’s past by using new technologies with a “wow factor” that points toward the future.