Anniversaries encourage us to reflect on the past, relive an important moment in the present and look ahead to the future. Our personal lives are filled with a wide range of anniversaries – both happy and sometimes sad. In business we also mark key milestones. Yet the external PR potential of these celebrations is often left unrealized.
- Reward customers and recognize employees. Anniversaries lend themselves to both internal and external engagement. It is an ideal moment to thank employees and customers for their continued loyalty, while encouraging increased involvement and driving potential “buyers” to take action.
- Educate audiences about your influence on industry and culture. As PR folk, one of our core responsibilities is to help people better understand brands and companies. Anniversaries present the perfect moment in time to revisit a company’s history and uncover its impact on its industry, culture and society as a whole.
- Spotlight critical current issues. Remember that the announcement of an anniversary alone is not necessarily enough to garner media attention. It is critically important to connect the milestone to a broader issue or trend, to enhance its newsworthiness.
The National Fire Protection Association identified a public service opportunity related to the 60th anniversary of its furry friend and mascot, Sparky the Fire Dog ®. The NFPA aimed to use this occasion to enhance its public fire safety education efforts and further engage its network of firefighters. Our team executed a multi-tiered media strategy that included partnering with third-party organizations such as Scholastic, and engaging the firefighter community through a “Voice of Sparky” contest that awarded the winner the opportunity to participate in a radio media tour. The campaign resulted in media coverage that tripled from 2010 to 2011, an increase in Sparky’s Facebook fan base by 184 percent and an expanded reach into markets across the country.
For Petfinder’s 15th anniversary, the organization wanted to focus on the numerous adoptable pets in need of homes and to drive potential pet adopters to animal shelters. The team executed the first “Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable Pet Day” that involved blanketing the Internet with information about adoptable pets for a 24-hour period. This was paired with a nationwide “Big Birthday Adoption Event,” an initiative to encourage local shelters and rescue groups to hold simultaneous adoption events in their communities. The campaign was recognized with a SABRE Award in 2011 for its success in increasing new visits to Petfinder.com from referring sites by 9.9 percent and finding homes for 15,000 pets in three-days of events across 1,500 shelters and animal rescues.