Company history is becoming more critical to branding and marketing every year. Take, for example, last year’s Dodge commercial. Rather than your typical car commercial—shiny car kicking up dust as it speeds around a deserted dirt road—it showcases the early twentieth century cars, the brothers who believed in quality, and a true American story of entrepreneurship, hard work, and ultimately, success. Including a company’s founding year in a logo is almost ubiquitous now, and very few companies neglect to include an “about us” or “history” page on their websites.
Why the emphasis on history?
Because customers are looking for relationships when they purchase products or services. They want to feel connected. History makes us feel a sense of nostalgia, and it makes us believe that the companies we support care because they are made up of real people like us.
An anniversary is your opportunity to leverage your history. When your company is celebrating a significant milestone, you can emphasize your legacy of innovation and leadership, remind your customers how it all came to be, and make your employees, customers/clients, and business partners feel like they have a key role to play in advancing your company into its future.
Our clients often use anniversary books in a variety of ways. Here are some of the ideas we’ve gathered over the years:
1. Gift to employees. Obviously employee engagement is critical to satisfaction, retention, and productivity. Making employees feel part of something bigger than themselves—particularly something mission-driven and storied—is a great way to reconnect them with your core purpose. Employees want to feel like they are more than employees—they want to be part of your history and partners in your success. A book celebrating your company’s history and legacy can go a long way in reaffirming this relationship.
2. Branding. A book can function as the core of a rebranding initiative. For some companies, an anniversary is energizing and revealing. The focus internally around an anniversary might showcase opportunities for a new direction. A book can set the pace, define the story, and create a look and feel that your company can rally around.
3. Marketing collateral. A book is a powerful leave-behind. It speaks quality and sincerity. As it’s a higher investment than standard marketing collateral, it communicates a stronger intention. You can use your book when approaching high-profile potential clients or when exploring new partnerships.
4. Sales piece. For some business-to-consumer companies, your brand is strong enough that customers will be interested in your story. This is especially relevant if the story revolves around a single founder that has a personal following or a compelling life story. In these instances, a book can be sold to customers in your own retail locations or online.
For my previous posts in this series: