Anniversaries are special occasions. They deserve to be celebrated.

We all know this in our personal lives, but sometimes these important milestones can be overlooked by brands, characters and companies.

Doing so is a big mistake. Why? Because anniversaries serve as a terrific platform for highly successful PR campaigns.

Evoking a strong sense of nostalgia, these historical moments offer up a whole host of opportunities. The chance to reach new audiences. To reconnect with past fans. To bring your long-established brand or company bang up to date. And the chance to get audiences excited about what the future holds.

A focus on anniversary PR always pays off in the long run. But it takes time, careful planning and experience to get right.

Set your strategy well in advance

The beauty of an anniversary is that it doesn’t creep up without warning!

If you have a big milestone looming on the horizon, be sure to allow plenty of time to set your strategy. From our experience, the very best anniversary campaigns are agreed more than a year in advance.

Allowing time to prepare your strategy means you can make the most of your anniversary when it comes. Partnerships can be agreed in advance, events can be organised and pre-publicised, and memorable assets can be produced in time for the start of the year. It also gives the media plenty of chances to share your story.

Choose the right partner

Partnerships or collaborations lie at the heart of the best anniversary celebrations. The right partner – be it charity, brand, artist or celebrity – can offer huge PR mileage and the chance to reach new audiences.

But it needs to be the right fit.

It’s important that your values and brand positioning align closely to that of your chosen partner. For a partnership to stand a chance of succeeding, you also need to be clear on what you can bring to the table, and how a collaborative approach can benefit both sides.

Sylvanian Families

Sylvanian Families’ close pairing with The National Trust is an example of a win-win partnership.

The opening of a children’s nature trail featuring the recognisable characters was a big part of global 30th anniversary celebrations for the toy range, together with summer events at National Trust properties in the south and north. This partnership worked well because of the core values of nature and imaginative play at the heart of both brands.

Know your history

An anniversary is a great opportunity to make that all-important nod back to the past. It’s a chance to celebrate your heritage, to shout about what made your brand or organisation so great in the first place, and to reiterate your values to both consumers and the media.

Successful media relations activity surrounding an anniversary should offer a snapshot of your evolution. It should present the past, present and future in an engaging fashion, one that will resonate with past fans and associates while also reaching a new generation.

To do that, you need to know your facts and figures, and have plenty of assets ready to share when the time comes. Historical timelines are essential, as are vintage shots to juxtapose the old with the new and bring the evolution to life in a highly-visual fashion.

Make it something worth talking about

An anniversary isn’t newsworthy in its own right. To grab attention and headlines, a topical news hook is absolutely essential.

The launch of new initiatives, product lines and exclusive celebration events are all great ways to to channel activity towards a clear focal point and make your milestone topical.

Which brings us to our final point…

Bring your brand bang up to date

It’s great to look back to the past. But what matters most is the future.

Whether the focus of an anniversary PR campaign is to boost brand awareness among a core demographic, drive an uplift in sales, or shift perceptions, all activity should have one key goal.

It should make your brand or organisation relevant and desirable in the eyes of the right audience.

Miffy's 60th birthday party

One of the reasons behind the success of our 60th anniversary activity for iconic children’s character Miffy was that it engaged new generations.

The multi-channel approach doubled the size of Miffy’s social media following in just 12 months, with Miffy hashtags trending three times during the anniversary year.

While harking back to the brand’s heritage, we developed thriving social communities and encouraged them to #CelebrateMiffy now, with the launch of a new TV show. Ultimately, anniversaries are there to be celebrated.

Do you have a big milestone coming up?

We love anniversaries here at Highlight. Over the years we’ve helped celebrate special milestones for a host of recognisable characters and brands, including Miffy, Sylvanian Families, The Beano Annual, Dear Zoo and Babar the Elephant.

We’re experts in raising brand profiles, building fan bases and triggering product sales through making the most of big anniversaries.

Get in touch and find out how we can help you.