Today, I opened my email after returning from lunch, and a message from LinkedIn awaited me. It was obviously a message from “corporate” and such emails rarely earn more than .025 seconds of my time before I delete. However, something caught my eye: me.
The message was about LinkedIn’s 10th Anniversary, but it led with my name and cited the number of Linked connections I currently have. Being as much a voyeur as anyone else, that caught my attention because I don’t look at that number very often. That prompted me to see the ten pictures of my connections that appeared directly in the email. Not random pictures from all of LinkedIn, but my connections. As I pondered how and why they chose those particular connections, the email’s call to action crossed my field of vision – “sharing some inspiration for the next 10 years” – and I noticed they wanted me to view a video. They’d already crossed three hurdles that almost no email gets past for me, so I figured why not, and clicked.
I’m glad I did. Here’s the video. It’s not a thank you message from the CEO, a description of the milestones in LinkedIn’s history or congratulatory testimonials from customers, all of which might be predictable. It actually did inspire me because it featured people speaking in the briefest of sound bites about the real impact they want to have through their work. LinkedIn then deftly sprinkled in animation and titles that hint at how LinkedIn helps them do it. They didn’t tell me, they showed me. Brilliant.
Organizations can get caught up in anniversaries. How should we celebrate? What should we do? Should we change our marketing strategy? Create a new logo? Have an event? Any one of those things might be a good idea, but whatever you do, take a page out of LinkedIn’s book by making it not about what you did in the past, but about what your past means for your stakeholders in the future.