Gain Marketing Mileage from Business Milestones

Earlier this year, Oreo celebrated their 100th anniversary. To commemorate the event, they created the “Oreo Daily Twist,” – daily images featuring Oreo cookies that had been customized or modified in relation to current events happening in the world. For 100 days in a row, the images were posted on their website, Pinterest, Twitter and shared with their 27.9 million Facebook fans.

Many of the resulting images were quite brilliant, and their efforts earned Oreo an astounding amount of buzz, PR, social media activity and the highest level of brand engagement ever to be realized by a cookie. They even incurred some backlash when they posted a cookie with rainbow-colored filling in support of gay rights.

Oreo’s “Daily Twist” takes on Mars Rover landing, Gay Pride & Talk Like a Pirate Day

This promotional juggernaut did more than improve brand awareness; it altered the public perception of Oreo. This campaign turned Oreo from a cookie that’s always been around, into an important brand with a strong voice that is relevant to our times. And, while I haven’t heard the official sales results, I’m fairly certain that cookie sales did increase.

More recently, Campbell’s soup launched “The Art of Soup” celebration, marking the 50th Anniversary of Andy Warhol’s iconic artwork, 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans, in which he immortalized the product in silk-screen paintings. In honor of the event, Campbell’s deviated from their rigid red, white and gold color scheme and printed a limited-edition run of soup can labels in a plethora of pop palettes that would make Andy proud.

The back of the can features the story of the promotion along with a photo of Warhol, his signature and one of his many famous pithy quotes. The clever part is this: Campbell’s then turns the context of Warhol’s quote into a call to action to follow the brand on Facebook and visit the website. This one essential addition is what encourages passive bystanders to become active brand ambassadors.

The Campbell’s ‘Art of Soup’ Campaign Resulted In:

Increased Awareness – Art fans were more than happy to educate their pop-culture-challenged brethren who thought Campbell’s was simply sprucing up their cans with “pretty colors” for soup season.

Social Engagement – You better believe the aforementioned call to action on the cans drove plenty of people online to connect on Facebook and learn more about The Art of Soup.

Massive Word of Mouth – People were actually talking about Campbell’s soup again for the first time since, well, 1962, when Warhol’s prints were created! I’ve been hearing lots of buzz about this promotion from media outlets, from my extended social circle, and–as a pop art fanatic–I’ve even been doing my own part to engage, comment and post about this milestone.

Increased Sales–From the soup fans who simply enjoy the colorful cans, to the Warhol fans who make a pilgrimage to their local Target stores (my girlfriend drove an hour both ways to buy me a stash as a gift), Campbell’s has surely moved some units by capitalizing on this important milestone in their brand’s history.

So, how does all this apply to your small business? By illustrating that you can use business milestones as a theme for a creative promotional campaign that will benefit you in the ways mentioned above. Don’t bother trotting out the excuse that you don’t have a Campbell’s-size marketing budget. Get creative, think outside the box, go beyond a simple sale and do something special that will build awareness, drive traffic, increase sales and be newsworthy enough to earn PR – even if you have to write the press release and submit it yourself.

Are you approaching 10,000 customers? How about 1,000? Has your business just passed its 5- or 10-year mark? Have you won an award lately? Are you launching a new product? Have you landed a new client or partner? Did you make a new hire recently? Have you extended your hours, rebranded your company, or launched a new website? Heck, maybe you even had to fire one of your biggest clients! Think of a clever way to mark(et) your business milestone.

Facebook just hit their “1-billion users” milestone and I’ve been hearing about it across the web all week. You may not have the resources of The Zuck, but with a little effort and ingenuity, I’m certain you can unearth several potential business milestones around which to create a newsworthy event, offer, campaign or promotion that will intrigue and excite your audience and earn your company some marketing mileage.

YOUR TURN: What milestones can you think of celebrating for your business?

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