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  • Writer's pictureIan Morris

5 Ways To Celebrate Your Brand’s Milestones

People celebrating

Brands worldwide are using the big dates in their timelines to launch attention-grabbing campaigns. Here we look at who’s been going all out, and how you can make the most of those brand milestones, too…

A wedge of cake and a glass of fizz is all well and good, but these days we’ve come to expect a little more from birthdays – and we don’t just mean our own. Companies are marking another trip round the sun with increasing oomph, and consumers can’t get enough of it.

Sainsbury’s, Facebook, BMW and Marmite are just a few of the famous names that have used their big days to launch new features, deliver awe-inspiring campaigns, or bring us the bling-tastic creation that is Marmite Gold (infused with edible gold flecks – haters, rethink).

And the fireworks aren’t just reserved for company birthdays either. Plenty of brands are pushing the boat out to mark anniversaries of their best-loved products, too. McDonalds used the 50th anniversary of its Big Mac to launch the MacCoin, an actual coin you could trade in for a burger. Meanwhile, Adidas marked half a century of its Superstar sneakers by giving the famous shoe a style update.

What’s in it for the companies? – Attention-Grabbing Campaigns!

Well, plenty actually. A milestone campaign is a great way for a brand to get itself in the spotlight and neatly achieve the double whammy of celebrating its past and setting out its future. It’s also a brilliant opportunity for a company to tell its story and reaffirm what it stands for, a potent combination that will strengthen ties with existing customers and attract new ones.

And good news is, there’s plenty of opportunity to get creative when it comes to marking a major date in your company’s calendar. Here’s a little inspiration from the big players…

1. Celebrate your brand milestones by… taking a trip down memory lane

For brands with a good few years under their belt, the nostalgic approach is a winner. Sainsbury’s used its 150th anniversary TV ad to look back on its heritage and to emphasise its caring ethos through the ages. As well as the ad, the supermarket chain hosted a pop-up shop in London, recreating an original store and showcasing some of the modern day additions, like self-checkouts. And who better to pop by for this journey through British retail history? Her Majesty the Queen, of course.

Why It Works…

Anything with a good dose of nostalgia triggers the feel-good factor and helps strengthen consumers’ emotional connection with the brand.

2. Celebrate your brand milestones by… giving your fans a treat

Manchester City football club flexed its digital muscle when it turned 125. The club announced a tour of its Etihad Stadium complete with 3D holographic content, augmented reality and a 360-degree cinema scan. The aim was to provide a fully immersive experience – fans could even ‘sit next to’ manager, Pep Guardiola, while he answered questions in the press room. Meanwhile, on the day Facebook turned 10, millions of users logged on to find a personalised video waiting for them. The ‘Look Back’ clips featured a compilation of people’s most-liked photos and updates, all set to emotive music.

Why It Works…

Who doesn’t love getting a treat, especially on someone else’s birthday? Anything that shows a company is giving back can only work in its favour and strengthen brand loyalty.

3. Celebrate your brand milestones by… launching a killer campaign on social

Oreo Celebrating Pride

Oreo is a brand that knows how to have fun, so its 100th birthday was always going to be one to watch. And it struck gold with its Daily Twist campaign. For 100 days the brand posted a different print-style ad. Each one featured their famous cookie with a ‘twist’ based on the big news of the day. Fans went wild for the biscuits that were styled to look like everything from Elvis to the surface of Mars, and rushed to share ideas for the next day’s twist. The award-winning viral campaign – widely regarded as one of the best food branding campaigns to hit social – clinched 433 million Facebook views and a 280% increase in shares.

Why It Works…

Anything that creates a buzz and gets people talking about your company has to be a good thing. It’s a great way to reach a new audience and show you’re a 21st-century brand.

4. Celebrate your brand milestones by… unveiling a new image

Unveiling the Starbucks new image

Sometimes a big birthday triggers an image overhaul, and that was certainly the case with Starbucks. The coffee giant unveiled its new look when it hit the big 4-0. It ditched the ‘Starbucks Coffee’ wordmark from its logo, leaving it all up to its famous mermaid to do the talking. This year the coffee giant turns 50 and is focusing its efforts on upping its environmental game, with more plant-based options on the menu and a move away from single-use packaging among the targets.

Why It Works…

A big birthday is a great time to celebrate how far you’ve come and unveil an inspiring vision for the future. A new look or set of promises shows you’re a contemporary, forward-facing brand.

5. Celebrate your brand milestones by… introducing an anniversary logo

Tesco's 100 years banner

If a brand redesign is a bit on the extreme side, consider the route that lots of companies go down and unveil an anniversary logo instead. Tesco did exactly that to mark its centenary in 2019. The logo helped draw attention to the brand’s low prices, declaring 100 years of celebrating great value. It was used alongside a new ad campaign featuring retro scenes and the tagline ‘Prices that take you back’.

Why It Works…

An anniversary logo shows your endurance, reliability and trustworthiness in one simple visual that can be widely used across your marketing.

Top Tips For Marking Your Brand Milestones

An effective milestone campaign takes careful planning. Here are our top tips for success…

1. Allow plenty of time and set goals.

Start planning six months, possibly even a year, in advance. Be clear on your budget and, crucially, what success looks like. Start with your company objectives – how will this campaign help you achieve them?

2. Think about your main messages.

It’s not enough to say we’re old, so therefore we’re great. What would you like people to take from the campaign? Once you know this you can think about a theme that ties it all in together. A successful campaign is one with a central story that engages both staff and customers.

3. Get creative.

Lay on a visual feast for your customer. If you’re doing a timeline, think about using photos, videos, infographics – anything that can bring your brand to life in an interesting way. Also, think about how to engage your audience. How can you get them participating in the campaign? What will get them sharing your story on social?

4. Invite your customers to look behind the scenes.

Everyone loves to feel they’re getting a sneak peek at something that’s usually off limits. Show them the people behind the brand, how they work, any interesting little snippets about your brand journey. The key is to create an emotional connection.

5. Celebrate the past but focus on the future.

Get the balance right between what’s gone before and what’s coming. You want your customers to go away thinking there’s a lot more to come, not that the best is behind you.

A specialist Brand Agency

An award-winning branding agency, Threerooms has spent over 15 years making brands stronger and businesses more successful. Whether modernising brands with meaning or crafting effective marketing campaigns, our amazing team is focused on delivering brand transformation while providing exceptional customer service.

We want to hear about all your opportunities and how we can work together. Let’s chat.

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