ANNIVERSARY (noun) 1. the annual recurrence of a date marking a notable event

REASONS TO CELEBRATE

You don't have to wait until your company's birthday for a party. Consider commemorating the anniversary of your leading product, the year your CEO took over, or some other meaningful milestone. A well-executed anniversary celebration can help to excite your employees, solidify your reputation, and differentiate your company from the competition, so don't feel as if you need to wait a decade for an excuse to break out the bubbly.

THERE'S HELP. WHO KNEW?

Companies are out there to handle the unique marketing/public relations/event-planning needs that arise around a corporate milestone, and that appreciate the anniversary as an opportunity to leverage your company's history. The History Factory, Chantilly, Va., for example, has been in business more than 25 years. Its team of historians, archivists, writers, and designers have worked on such events as the 10th anniversary of Microsoft Word, the 50th anniversary of Playboy, the 100th anniversary of UNUM Corp., and the 175th anniversary of Brooks Bros. More recently, Kullberg Consulting Group, Kingstown, R.I., in September 2003 launched a Marketing Milestone division to address the marketing communication needs of anniversary celebrations. A white paper, Market Your Anniversary as if Your Corporate Future Depended on It, can be downloaded from www.marketingmilestone.com.

HALLMARK RULES

For a traditionalist, here's the proper material to use when commemorating your anniversary:

5th: Wood
10th: Tin/Aluminum
15th: Crystal
20th: China
25th: Silver
30th: Pearl
40th: Ruby
50th: Gold
60th: Diamond

THINK OUTSIDE THE PAN

All cakes are not created equal. There's nothing wrong with a sheet cake decorated in roses, but for a sense of what's possible, visit www.mikesamazingcakes.com. We don't know how they taste, but these cakes look, well, amazing.

OOOOO, AHHHHH

An anniversary is a great time to spring for pyrotechnics, especially when you need to please a crowd. The most common type is the traditional outdoor display, but more products are on the market for close proximity pyrotechnics — both indoor and outdoor — as well as daytime fireworks. Basic displays run about $1,500 a minute, more if choreographed, and you can expect a $5,000 to $10,000 bill for a basic outdoor show. A major fireworks event costs $30,000 to $100,000 and up. A few tips: Work with an established fireworks provider; find out early about the required fire department permits; and make sure that your fireworks provider is insured.

Sources: Merriam-Webster Online, www.m-w.com; www.hallmark.com; www.ehow.com; www.mikesamazingcakes; www.marketingmilestone.com; www.historyfactory.com

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