Celebrate, refresh, renew

Celebrate your rich heritage to restore relevance and strengthen your future.

Branding, Essentials | 3mins read | Michael Gough

Celebrate, refresh, renew
Celebrate, refresh, renew

Experience is one of the biggest advantages established businesses have over disruptive startups. Company anniversaries present a useful business opportunity to promote this experience. But saying you’ve been in business for 25, 50 or 100 years isn’t enough on its own – you’ve got to give people a reason to care.

Estate agents Savills recently launched a campaign celebrating their 150 year anniversary. An incredible achievement, but a long tenure isn’t enough to stand out in a sector as crowded as real estate. Competitors Chestertons, Chancellors, Felicity J. Lord and Winkworths have all been around for longer. Why is Savills’ 150 years of experience any better than Chestertons’ 215?

Whether you sell houses, cars, investments, insurance, shoes, toys or paintings, your audience won’t appreciate the value of your experience unless you can tell them why it matters. If Savills had shown people how their experience makes a difference, the campaign would have been more compelling. 

 

 

Celebrating your heritage not only helps you reassert your relevance with existing audiences. It can help you reach whole new segments. This is particularly true for established membership organisations.

  

Use your past to guide the future

Celebrating your heritage not only helps you reassert your relevance with existing audiences. It can help you reach whole new segments. This is particularly true for established membership organisations.

The Royal Astronomical Society’s brand refresh by Johnson Banks is testament to this. They used their 200th anniversary to broaden reach to a younger and more diverse audience. Their legacy symbol was no longer fit for purpose in a digital world – too intricate for little screens – and it no longer communicated who they are or what they do. 

It also shows that a successful rebrand isn’t always about completely reinventing the wheel. The Society’s founding motto  – ‘Let whatever shines be observed’ – is as relevant to their work today as it was in 1820. This idea of ‘vision and discovery that characterises two centuries of study’ became the foundation for their new visual identity. And the result feels true to the Society’s past 

Most of the UK’s 59 Royal Societies, or the City of London’s 110 livery companies, could seize similar opportunities – and many of them make the RAS seem positively adolescent.

 

 

Many established companies lose sight of their purpose. It’s often found in the original constitution, which newer members of your team might not be familiar with. A company anniversary is the perfect opportunity to dust it down and reframe it for your staff.  

 

Celebrate progress to galvanise your team – and recruit better candidates

Marking milestones internally is equally as important as sharing them with the world. This can be an opportunity to reshape company culture and embed a new strategic direction with your teams – and crucially make your company more attractive to existing and new talent.

Today’s workforce is motivated by more than a pay cheque. Employees need a purpose to get behind, and a clear understanding of how their work benefits clients. 

Many established companies lose sight of their purpose. It’s often found in the original constitution, which newer members of your team might not be familiar with. A company anniversary is the perfect opportunity to dust it down and reframe it for your staff. 

Our work with fund management company Octopus helped do just that. To mark their first five years in business, we designed and co–wrote a handbook celebrating their achievements and laying out their new vision for the brand. A copy was waiting on each employee’s desk after an all–team away day, as a thank you for coming on the journey, and an invitation to the next step. 

Being clear on what you stand for can help with recruitment, too. Competing with purpose–led challenger brands for top talent can be a fraught and challenging process, as Australian software developer Iress knew all too well.

Our work helping them evolve their dry, functional branding has benefitted their recruitment drive as much as their sales funnel. Now, their brand speaks to the purpose and impact of their software, creating desirability for both prospective employees and clients.

  

As your business grows, taking time to reflect is extremely valuable

We’re often so caught up in our day–to–day roles that we don’t think to take stock of how far we’ve come. In our experience, this is a missed opportunity. 

It can help bring you back to your original purpose, which in turn can help you reframe your offer and stay relevant. Or, it can help bring growing teams together on the same page, enriching your company culture.

  

 

If you’ve got a company anniversary or milestone coming up, now is the time to start thinking about how you can make the most of it.

 

The difficulty is in seeing the value in what’s there without an objective pair of eyes 

At Sparks, we can provide that objective point of view, based on 20+ years’ experience helping brands with rich histories stay relevant. We can help you find answers to questions like: 

Do our founding principles still ring true? Do our employees know what they are? If we stopped trading, what would our clients miss most? How much of our founding story remains compelling?

If you’ve got a company anniversary or milestone coming up, now is the time to start thinking about how you can make the most of it. 

To find out how, get in touch.