Independents

The PR Adviser: How Do I Mark a Major Milestone?

IndependentsJul 23, 2018

The PR Adviser: How Do I Mark a Major Milestone?

A jewelry store or brand celebrating a major anniversary must go beyond crafting banners and throwing a big bash, Lilian Raji writes.

Lilian Raji is a strategic marketing and public relations adviser who helps luxury lifestyle companies sell more products and build loyalty with luxury buyers. Send questions for The PR Adviser to nationaljeweler@lmrpr.com or contact her at lilian@lmrpr.com.

Hello my beloved readers!

The latest question for the PR Adviser is as follows.

Q: The year 2020 marks our 100th year in business. What should we do to celebrate it?

Elisabetta Molina
Garavelli

A: First, my apologies for missing Las Vegas jewelry week. I missed spending time with all of you, but the PR Adviser was needed in Montreal to assist a fabulous Quebecois husband-and-wife jewelry duo in charting a new course for their business.  

In our two intensive days together, I made them laugh, I made them cry, I made them dig deep into their souls to get to the very truth of their business. They emerged battered and bruised, but reborn with a new strategy and a clear direction. I can’t declare victory until our work together takes hold and they’re raking in the dollars. I’m by their side until this happens.

Now to you, Elisabetta, and the many options you have for celebrating this momentous occasion.

I have no doubt your great-grandfather, Mario Garavelli, is looking down with tremendous pride at the work you and your brother have done to take his vision to new heights. While you absolutely must celebrate what your family has accomplished, Garavelli’s story doesn’t belong to you alone. It also belongs to your customers.

Without your customers—both the retailers that enthusiastically stock your collection and the women who proudly adorn themselves in Garavelli—this centenarian anniversary would never have been possible.

You MUST include them in your celebration.  

Yes, have a party and do everything every brand does to celebrate their 100th year. Run ads in magazines, redo your website with anniversary branding and blah, blah, blah, snooze.

When you’ve gotten all of that out of your system, it’s time to truly and personally acknowledge the role of your customers in this achievement.

Between now and eight months before your official anniversary date, I want you to pull out your Rolodex. Yes, the Rolodex! We’re talking 100 years here! We need to build a comprehensive list and I seriously doubt your great-grandfather Mario, grandfather Aldo or father Averne kept their customers’ lists in Outlook.

You’re going to contact every still-living person who has ever added one dollar, one euro or one lira to the Garavelli coffers, Elisabetta, and tell them why they’re an important part of your celebration.  

You’re going to ask them, per favore, to write a statement, send a picture, make a

video—anything they’d like to do—talking about their relationship with Garavelli.  

Ask for confessions on what Garavelli has meant to them. How did they discover the brand? What made them buy the pieces they own? How do those pieces make them feel when they wear them? What do those pieces mean to them? Why have they kept their relationship with Garavelli all these years?

These people shaped Garavelli into the illustrious, international company of today, and they, too, deserve to feel some personal pride in your company’s 100th anniversary celebration.

These confessions, along with whatever photos and videos you’re able to obtain, should then be used to create a tribute website to your customers. We want the Garavelli story told in their words, not your own.

What makes a better impression—me telling you how great I am, or 1,000 people telling you how great I am?

Exactly.

Launch the website three to four months before your official anniversary date and use social media to tease out the confessions showcased on the site.

And before you throw the greatest centenarian anniversary party Valenza has ever seen, take those confessions, along with photographs of your jewelry throughout the years, and create a limited-edition book. This book is your gift to everyone who offered a confession and those who attend the party.

What do you think of “Garavelli Confessions: 100 Years” as a title? Non importa. We can figure that out later.

It’s one thing to simply thank your customers, and quite another to make them an integral part of your celebration.

What makes a better impression? Me thanking you for being a great customer? Or me thanking you for being a great customer while I’m flying you on a private jet to a secluded island where you will be pampered to your heart’s content?

Exactly.

Without 100 years of fabulous customers, Garavelli would not be what it is now.

If you’re going to say grazie, say grazie mille.

This is where I kindly remind you I have a passport, some yet-unstamped pages, and a yearning to continue my tour of Italy. I’ll be mailing you one euro to contribute to the Garavelli coffers so I, too, can receive an invitation!

Addio, mio caro amico, Elisabetta. I’m excited to see what you do.

And to my dearest readers, until next time! Never forget, I’m available to answer your most pressing PR and marketing questions, either here in my column or in person at your office.

Arrivederci!

Lilian Raji is a strategic marketing and public relations adviser who helps luxury lifestyle companies sell more products and build loyalty with luxury buyers. Visit LilianRaji.com to learn more. Send questions for The PR Adviser to nationaljeweler@lmrpr.com or contact her at lilian@lmrpr.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Lilian Rajiis a strategic communications and PR adviser who helps companies understand their marketing problems, then designs and executes strategies to solve them.

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