Guest Blog: Transforming a Business Anniversary into a SELL-abration

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Some companies celebrate a business anniversary with cake and champagne in the conference room. What’s better, after all, than a party to mark a 5th, 50th or 150th business anniversary? How about a “sell”-abration that contributes to the bottom line? 

Companies with a “Let’s-Throw-a-Party” mindset overlook the business anniversary’s promotional power. Each anniversary provides the opportunity to remind the marketplace of the company’s staying power, achievements and contributions to the community.

Companies with a “Let’s-Increase-the-Bottom-Line” perspective harness the business anniversary’s promotional power. They: 1) create an anniversary-year branding message, 2) develop an integrated marketing and public relations promotional campaign with measureable outcomes, and 3) transform the business anniversary into a “sell”-abration.

How the Process Works

Helping clients transform business anniversary merry-making into business anniversary money-making begins by obtaining preliminary information, including answers to these key questions:

  • What do you wish to achieve through the business anniversary promotional campaign?
  • What anniversary-year message do you wish to communicate?
  • Who are the key audiences that need to hear the anniversary year message?
  • What will a successful business anniversary promotional campaign look like?

This research provides the foundation for a strategic planning consultation with the client to present and discuss a range of options for the anniversary promotional campaign, including an anniversary-year branding message.

Wedding anniversaries are often celebrated according to a traditional list of anniversary symbols. A new twist on that time-honored idea has been created just for business anniversaries: “The Bartel Years™” and “The Bartel Years 200™” are rosters of symbols for two centuries of business anniversary promotional campaigns. (Contact me at for complimentary copies.)  

Once the client approves the anniversary-year branding message, we develop strategies and tactics to position the client’s products or services within the context of the business anniversary. Potential strategies include:

  • Outreach campaigns directed to customers and prospect that increase revenue
  • Recognition campaigns for employees and other stakeholders that build stronger relationships with company advocates
  • Community service projects that raise a company’s visibility in the community
  • Public relations campaigns that tell the company’s story of starting, struggling and succeeding
  • Social media campaigns that connect to and build relationships with customers and prospects

Through this strategic business anniversary promotional campaign clients receive fabulous gifts:

  • New and repeat business
  • Stronger key relationships
  • Competitive marketplace advantage

Case Study: Baskets of Success!

These gifts I delivered to a corporate and special-occasions gift-basket company for its 5th business anniversary. The company needed to raise its visibility in the community, increase its customer base, grow overall revenue and differentiate itself from area competitors, during a make-or-break year for the business. 

I created two community service projects designed to showcase the company’s beautiful gift baskets. “Baskets of Hope” and “Baskets of Learning” involved collecting personal care products and back-to-school supplies, respectively, presenting them in beautifully wrapped baskets and donating the baskets to a women’s shelter. Each person making a donation received a $5 discount coupon for a future gift basket purchase.

To publicize the anniversary initiatives, we launched a media campaign that generated newspaper stories, radio interviews, television appearances plus Internet coverage. The promotional campaign energized business for the company and yielded the following results:

  • 30% increase in revenue over the prior year
  • More than 2 million positive print and broadcast media impressions
  • Growth in sales over the next two years to $2.3 million in annual revenue.

Now that’s what I call a business anniversary “sell”-abration!


By Pauline Bartel, M.A., president and chief creative officer of Bartel Communications, Inc., an award-winning corporate communications firm in Waterford, NY. One of the firm’s specialties is business anniversary consulting services.

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