In the midst of the day-to-day hustle, it may be easy to let your company’s milestones slip by without noticing. But your company’s milestones are the perfect opportunity to thank everyone who made your company’s success possible—and foster a culture of appreciation and recognition in the process. They’re also a great time to get the word out about your company’s accomplishments and future plans. Keep reading to learn why company milestones are so important and find out which milestones you may want to celebrate. Then discover seven fun and creative ways to commemorate your company’s milestones.
Milestones Are an Opportunity
Your employees need to hear thank you often. Research suggests employees who work in organizations with a culture of gratitude are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. In fact, feeling appreciated is the number one factor that motivates employees no matter what profession they’re in or position they hold, according to Doug Claffey of Energage, who has studied more than 19 million employees across 57,000 organizations.
Any day is a good day to thank your employees. But it’s especially important to thank them when your company is celebrating a milestone. After all, you wouldn’t be where you are without the amazing people who work for your team.
Likewise, milestones are a great time to let your clients and customers know you value them. On average, almost half (40%) of a company’s revenue comes from repeat customers. And the majority (68%) of customers who leave a company do so because they think the business doesn’t care about them. A milestone is also an excellent occasion to thank any shareholders who’ve invested in your company over the years.
In addition, milestones provide an opportunity to publicize your company’s mission, values, and longevity, and potentially attract new customers. Some companies run year-long publicity campaigns on key anniversaries. For instance, when Motel 6 turned 50, they released a commercial showing a family driving through the company’s 50-year history. The family’s outfits changed as the years passed and so did their car, starting with a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad and finishing in a modern-day SUV, but their motel stayed the same. The commercial ends with the slogan, “50 years and the lights are still on.” Even if your company hasn’t hit the half-century mark, you’ll attract customers by highlighting your brand’s endurance, mission, and values.
Which milestones should you celebrate?
Businesses value different milestones depending on the industry and company culture. These may be good occasions to celebrate.
- Major anniversaries: 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, etc.
- Successful funding
- Initial public offering (IPO)
- Acquisition of another business
- Opening of a new location
- Meeting a sales goal
- Retirement of a founder
Get creative about which anniversaries you celebrate. If you have a certain number identified with your brand, consider celebrating anniversaries ending in that number. For instance, Heinz, maker of Heinz 57 steak sauce, likes to celebrate couples on their 57th wedding anniversaries.
How to Celebrate Milestones
Once you decide on a milestone to celebrate, here are some fun ways to commemorate it.
1. Treat your team
Your employees are your company’s lifeblood, and your success depends on them. That’s why Richard Branson puts employees first, customers second, and shareholders third at Virgin Airlines. “If the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they’re doing … if they’re well looked after, if they’re treated well, then they’re going to be smiling, they’re going to be happy, and therefore the customer will have a nice experience,” he said in an interview with Inc.
You can put your employees front and center by treating them to lunch, dinner, or dessert to celebrate your company’s milestone. If you provide your team with regularly catered meals, you may want to make the day special by ordering desserts or treats from a local food company or bakery.
2. Give your employees a meaningful gift
Gifts are another way to thank your employees. Gift baskets, monogrammed items, electronic gadgets, gift cards, and travel vouchers are usually appreciated. A paid day off will probably also be a hit with most employees. If you’re stumped for gifts to give your employees, consider using the traditional wedding anniversaries as a guide, and give paper gifts on year one, wood gifts on year five, and metal gifts on year 10. (You can get creative here!)
3. Send thank you cards
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to thank the people who’ve helped your company succeed. Don’t discount the power of a simple, handwritten thank-you note. Spend some time writing thoughtful, personal notes to your employees, customers, clients, and/or shareholders, and the relationships you’ll build may help fuel your business toward your next major milestone.
4. Throw a party
Why not bring your employees, customers, and shareholders together for a festive shindig to celebrate your company milestone? Don’t be afraid to get creative. When the online print and design company Moo celebrated their 10th anniversary, they threw a party set in their vision of a quasi-dystopian 2116 with creative costumes, décor, and lighting.
If you want to make your party as memorable as Moo’s, you’ll need to put time and resources into planning. Consider producing a timeline or video for the party to celebrate your company’s milestone. But don’t just focus on the past. Your party may be the perfect opportunity to unveil a new program or plans.
Want to publicize your event? Brainstorm ways to entice the media to attend. You could feature a notable speaker or guest in your field, or you could partner with a well-known organization to promote the occasion. When Eskimo Pie turned 75, they partnered with the Smithsonian Institution by donating items to be part of an exhibit on the history of ice cream. At a bare minimum, hire a photographer to document your event, then share photos of it with your email subscribers and social media followers.
If you’ve been thinking about revamping your company’s brand, a major milestone is a great time to do it. For instance, Saturday Night Live and Starbucks made a splash by celebrating their 40th anniversaries with sharp new logos. You could also design a special commemorative logo to use on your website and in advertisements and marketing materials during your anniversary year to bring more attention to your milestone.
6. Publicize your milestone
Even if you don’t have the funds to release a national advertising campaign as Motel 6 did, you can share your company’s milestone with the world. When Spotify celebrated one year of streaming service in the U.S., they published a fun and informative infographic sharing how many songs had been downloaded plus additional relevant facts. Here are other ways to publicize your milestone.
- Write a press release sharing the unique or newsworthy way your company is celebrating its milestone. Send it to newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and TV stations.
- Invite the media to attend your milestone celebration and include a well-known speaker or noteworthy guest to entice them.
- Release an eBook or limited-edition print book celebrating your company’s history.
- Write a series of blog posts about the milestone for your company blog.
- Write a series of social media posts about the milestone.
- Share your milestone in your email newsletter.
- Make a video about your milestone and share it widely.
- Create a landing page sharing your milestone on your website. For anniversaries, include a timeline highlighting your company’s history.
7. Make your customers a special offer
Want to publicize your company’s longevity, thank your existing customers, and attract new customers at the same time? Combine your milestone with a discount, sales event, or giveaway. The payday lender Check into Cash gave away $25,000 in $1,000 increments to 25 winners for their 25th anniversary. And Frigidaire offered customers up to 40% off on select appliances on their 100th anniversary.
Don’t let your company’s important milestones pass by. Use them as an opportunity to thank the people who made your success possible and to share your company’s mission and values with the world. By celebrating your triumphs, you’ll help set your company up for future victories. And that means you’ll be celebrating milestones for years to come.