I recently attended a session on celebrating firm anniversaries at the Accounting Marketing Association (AAM) Summit in New Orleans. Donna Erbs presented her insights from organizing a yearlong celebration for Anders CPA + Advisors’ 50th anniversary in 2015, and then moderated a group discussion. Donna’s key advice as well as some of the anniversary ideas she and the rest of the group contributed are below.
Firm Anniversary Advice:
- Start with the question, “Why are we celebrating this anniversary?” Interview partners to get the answer.
- Make it a yearlong event, instead of just a party.
- Make it about the client so that it can also be used for business develop purposes. Repurpose and share across multiple platforms, i.e. newsletters, website, social media posts, etc.
Create Fun Facts/Timeline
- Ask everyone for old pictures, including retired partners!
- Fun Facts can be firm history, city/local milestone events, the names of other companies founded that same year, etc.
- Send the fun facts out in email newsletters and share them on social media.
- Add a timeline to the website and use it as the firm’s history page. Donna shared that Anders CPA’s timeline got almost 6,000 page visits!
- Interview of founding and retired partners.
- Ask the children of firm founders tell the story of their parents and why they are following in their footsteps.
- Hire actors to play founders of the firm. One firm did this as a fun, internal piece.
- Invite clients as well as retired partners and staff.
- Hold a decade-themed party. Anders CPA went all out with a 60s-theme party with food, drinks, and music from that time period. They also had a photo booth with 60s props, a caricature artist, and a candy bar with popular 60s sweets. The candy bar also became the take-away gift.
- For companies with multiple offices: set up a webcast of all the party locations.
- Hire a drone photographer to take a picture of all the staff.
- For companies with multiple offices: Have a competition for the best-decorated reception/lobby.
- Hold a volunteer day. One firm positioned it as “[anniversary year] Acts of Kindness.”
- Create a hashtag for social sharing.
- Create an animated card to coordinate with the firm anniversary. Here is an example of a Thanksgiving eCard that we created for a client.
Thank you to everyone that contributed to this campfire brainstorming session at the AAM Summit session!
Good luck to everyone planning a milestone firm anniversary celebration! Remember, the first step is to ask “Why?” and start early.
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