Fabric grocery bags encouraged helping all generations avoid hunger.

Fabric grocery bags encouraged helping all generations avoid hunger.

For the 5th business anniversary of the financial services firm Generations Planning Group, the two managing partners wished to show appreciation to their clients in an elegant, memorable way. So the Certified Financial Planners turned to Bartel Communications, the business anniversary experts. Here’s what we did:

Understood the ClientThe financial planning services offered by Generations Planning Group emphasize continuity or, in industry parlance, the transfer of wealth to the next generation. The family clients they help include multiple generations — parents, their children and grandchildren; the business clients they help include company owners concerned with succession planning to the next generation.

Once we understood the client’s central focus on “helping generations,” we explored the firm’s history. We realized that the date of Generations Planning Group’s founding – April 29 – had been Arbor Day in 2011. This holiday encourages individuals and groups around the world to plant, nurture and value trees. In the United States, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the fourth Friday of April. We also noticed that the firm’s 5th business anniversary – April 29, 2016 – would also fall on Arbor Day.

Followed the Threads: The Arbor Day element in the firm’s history intrigued us, because we knew that the symbol of the 5th business anniversary is Wood, according to “The Bartel Years™.” (“The Bartel Years™” is the roster of business anniversary symbols that inspire business anniversary promotional ideas.) The business anniversary promotional campaigns we create for clients often combine celebrating the anniversary and symbolizing the anniversary year.

The other threads we found and used in our strategic thinking and planning for Generations Planning Group were:

  • Arbor Day is traditionally celebrated by planting trees
  • The Arbor Day Foundation (www.arborday.orgis a non-profit conservation and education organization with a mission “to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.”
  • The Arbor Day Foundation offers for a purchase a variety of greeting cards that can be personalized. Each card celebrates the recipient by having a tree planted in a national forest in the person’s honor.
  • An ancient Chinese proverb that linked trees and generations

We pulled all these threads together and developed ideas for Generations Planning Group’s 5th business anniversary client appreciation initiative.

Proposed the Promotion: The client appreciation initiative we proposed included:

  • Using a 5th business anniversary branding theme – “Generations Growing Together” – on all client communications and touch points
  • Purchasing from the Arbor Day Foundation a quantity of Give-a-Tree birthday cards personalized with the ancient Chinese proverb we had found: “One generation plants the trees and another gets the shade” plus the 5th business anniversary branding theme we had created: “Generations Growing Together”
  • Sending a card to each client for his or her birthday. We recommended preparing the cards in advance and placing them in a tickler file so the cards could be mailed at the appropriate time.
  • Hosting a business anniversary celebration on Arbor Day at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Discovery Center (www.albanypinebush.org). The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a globally rare ecosystem, and the Discovery Center provides visitors with interactive exhibits and activities that tell the story of the natural and cultural history of the Preserve. The Center features a live tree, soaring from the building’s floor to the domed, skylight ceiling.
  • Asking guests attending the business anniversary celebration to bring canned food items for donation to the local food pantry. This community service component of the 5th business anniversary promotional campaign was designed to ensure that “all generations can avoid hunger.” Each guest was gifted with a fabric grocery bag imprinted with the name and logo of Generations Planning Group.

The managing partners of Generations Planning Group (www.genplangrp.com) loved the ideas we developed for the firm’s 5th business anniversary. They had the “elegant, memorable” business anniversary promotional campaign they had wanted and received a high level of positive feedback from their clients.

Here’s what Susan Schell of Generations Planning Group said: “Pauline’s creativity and unique approach to business anniversary celebrations allowed Generations Planning Group, LLC, to plan a wonderful year of celebration…None of this would have occurred without Pauline’s leadership and participation. She is a consummate professional, as well as a delight to work with!”

Blogger Bio: Pauline Bartel, M.A., is President and Chief Creative Officer of Bartel Communications, Inc., an award-winning corporate communications consultancy. One of the company’s specialties is business anniversary marketing.

Bartel Communications created “The Bartel Years™” and “The Bartel Years 200™,” rosters of business anniversary symbols to inspire two centuries of business anniversary “sell”-abrations.

Through The Bartel Way™, an integrated marketing and public relations strategy, Bartel Communications uses business anniversaries as showcases for a company’s products and services. This engages customers, drives sales and transforms the anniversary into a “sell”-abration. For further information, visit www.paulinebartel.com/services/corporate-services/business-anniversary-consulting