The Ultimate Starter Guide to Making a Company Anniversary Video

When I started Tribe Pictures nearly forty years ago, there were only a handful of corporate video production companies out there, so companies who wanted to harness the power of video had a clear path forward if they wanted to take advantage of the, then fledgling, medium.  

Now, with somewhere around 50,000 video production companies in the United States and easy access to high quality video cameras sitting in nearly every employee’s pocket, communications and marketing teams have so many options for corporate video production that it can feel almost paralyzing.

To further complicate things, a milestone anniversary video is a different beast entirely, so even communications experts who have purchased or produced video before often have questions about how best to go about creating this unique genre of corporate video. That’s why we’ve partnered with Anniversary University to assemble this starter guide. It may not answer every question that you have, but it should give you enough information to get started.

As Lisa always tells her clients, it is never too soon to start planning for a milestone anniversary. And when it comes to a company anniversary video, that advice is doubly useful.

What makes an anniversary video different from a “regular” corporate video?

One of the major differences between anniversary videos and other types of corporate video is the role that emotion plays in the video. Think of video on a spectrum from explanation to emotion. On the far “explanation” end, you might have a video from an investment firm recapping market trends. In the middle, you might have a recruitment video that helps prospective applicants feel connected to the company culture while also explaining that starting a career with the company will provide plenty of opportunities to grow your career. On the far end of the spectrum, you have anniversary videos. These videos thrive in the realm of emotion. They can be rich with nostalgia, hope, excitement, and joy.

a chart showing various types of videos on a range from “explanation” to “emotion,” with company anniversary videos being the most emotional

Because of this, anniversary videos can often allow for a more conceptual approach, though that’s not to say they have to. A more traditional format (e.g. on-camera interviews and compelling b-roll) would still be appropriate, but a highly creative concept can cut through the noise and stay memorable, long after the anniversary has passed. This can be important because anniversaries attract lots of eyes, and an anniversary video may be the most-watched video your organization creates.

What do you say on a company anniversary?

A company anniversary is a time for celebration and reflection, but importantly it is also a time to rally your teams around a shared vision for the future. Avoid falling into the trap of merely looking backwards. Yes, a milestone anniversary provides an opportunity to celebrate how far you’ve come, but importantly, it should focus on where you are going.

The communications around your anniversary can come in a variety of mediums, but regardless of the medium, you’ll want to consider the two essential questions that Tribe always starts with when embarking on a project:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you want your audience to think, do, feel, say, buy, or buy into?

Sentiments like a heartfelt thank you, a vision for the future, and an invitation for audiences to be a part of that future could all fit into your company’s anniversary messaging, but in the end, the messaging that you select for your company’s milestone anniversary video should be organized around the two essential questions.

Who should make my company anniversary video?

There’s a few paths forward here. Agencies, video production companies, in-house production teams, and self-producing. There’s no “right” way, but there are very real budget and time considerations to keep in mind. There are pros and cons to each, so let’s break them down.


Agencies are creative powerhouses. They have the resources to generate and execute big ideas, and if you’re a large company you likely already have a relationship with an agency. The downside is that agencies are expensive, especially if the agency is subcontracting the video production. You could be looking at high six figures, potentially even seven figures for your anniversary video. Now, that might be an appropriate spend, especially if your video ends up driving sales and brand loyalty for years to come.

Video Production Companies

Different video production companies have different capabilities. For example, Tribe Pictures will generate and execute creative, keeping our clients as involved in the process as they choose to be. Some production companies will only execute on an existing idea. There’s no “right” way to run a production company, but make sure that you understand exactly what you’re buying. Because of the varying level of service offered, prices can vary quite a bit as well — more about cost later, but in short, you should be spending less than with an agency.

In-House Production Teams

This can be a great solution for an anniversary video, since they already know and understand your organization (not to mention the cost savings). However, your in-house resources may or may not have the time and ability to execute on an anniversary video. Some of the best anniversary videos buck traditional corporate video formulas, and an in-house team may not have the experience or time to dedicate to a project like this. Before starting down this path, have an honest conversation with the team about what they can add to their plate and what you are hoping to achieve with the video.


On paper, you can get your video done for a fraction of the cost if you handle everything yourself. However, production can be very labor intensive and you might find yourself with a very long to-do list, very quickly. If you are looking into self-producing the project, make sure you have a strong team behind you and don’t be afraid to bring freelancers into the mix, especially when it comes to the “craft” elements of your video like shooting, directing, lighting, and editing.

How do you make a company anniversary video?

There are three phases to video production. Pre-production, production, and post-production, each equally important. 


During pre-production, you’ll develop the concept and the messaging, all of which should reinforce any existing milestone anniversary themes that your company is already working with. You’ll also secure permits, rent equipment, and book crew and locations, as needed. You’ll likely scout the locations in advance to make sure those locations will actually work for a video shoot (pictures are rarely an adequate substitute for a site visit). Pre-production is the time to anticipate any challenges that could arise during the production phase and to avoid any surprises. 

Importantly, this is also the time to ensure that every key decision-maker has bought in. Because video production can be expensive (more on that later), pre-production is the time to make sure that everyone is on the same page about what you’re going to film.


The production phase is what most people think about when they think about making a video. The cameras are rolling, whether it’s an iPhone or a professional camera shooting in 8K, you’re capturing footage that will get assembled into a video.


At the most basic level, post-production is editing. The editor will assemble the footage into a video. Post-production also involves adding music, sound effects, adjusting the color of the footage (color correction/grading), and any animation and motion graphics. Depending on the scope of the video, one person might handle all of those elements, but often for the videos with the highest production value, different people are handling each of those elements.

How do you generate company anniversary video ideas?

If you’re planning on working internally, the best place to start is likely with a blue-sky brainstorming session. Gather a group of trusted individuals from your company. This initial planning team can come from anywhere within the organization, not just from the comms or marketing team, but it may be best to avoid looping in the top brass at this point. In some organizations, having members of the c-suite in the room can unintentionally stifle the process. Why? Because in this blue-sky brainstorm, the sky’s the limit and there are going to be some pretty bad ideas tossed out. No one wants to pitch a bad idea in front of the CEO.

Start the conversation by identifying everyone who you think might watch your video. This could include anyone from employees, to shareholders, to customers. Jot those audiences down until you have a comprehensive list. Then, from that list, pick one. This is your primary audience. Every creative decision will be geared to speak to that audience. At this point, clients often say, “Well, we want this video to be for our employees, but we also want to share it externally.” That’s fine—  pick another audience or two, these are your secondary audiences. You can keep their needs in mind (for example, it’s probably best to avoid company jargon if a secondary audience is external), but avoid trying to make a video that will be all things for all people. The primary/secondary exercise will help ensure that your video communication remains strategic and resonates with the right people.

After you determine your audience, it’s time to break out the second essential question: What do you want your audience to think, do, feel, say, buy, or buy into after watching your video? Perhaps you want them to feel excitement about the future of your company. For a nonprofit organization or educational institution, you might want a viewer to make a donation. If you are struggling to determine what the end goal should be, try taking a step back. What challenges is your organization facing? If your company is dealing with high turnover, you might want your audience of employees to feel valued. If your company is confronting a long-term decline in stock price, you might want your audience of investors to think that the current leadership team is the right group of people to turn things around.

With the two essential questions answered, it’s time to begin the blue-sky brainstorming. Invite the members of your brainstorming group to spitball ideas and build on the ideas of their peers. Think about videos or commercials that have resonated with you in the past — sometimes the best ideas are reinventions of existing concepts. Consider visually interesting locations. What about the cast? Are there important figures from your organization that might appear on screen? Don’t be afraid of something non-traditional — an anniversary video is the time for thinking outside the box. 

Once you’ve generated a list of ten to fifteen different ideas, even if they aren’t fully formed, call it a day. The creative process doesn’t like to be rushed, so it’s important to give the team some time to sit with the conversation for a bit. 

A few days later, reconvene the group and collect any ideas that may have emerged after the previous session. Then, from the entire list, begin to narrow the scope. If you know you have a limited budget, then you know it’s time to cross off the concept that calls for a celebrity spokesperson. If you know the timeline of the project is limited, then forget about setting up a time lapse camera for an entire year. Just because an idea won’t work for this project doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Instead, keep those ideas in a drawer — you never know what the future holds! 

Throughout this narrowing process, keep the two essential questions in mind. An idea that isn’t appropriately targeted for the right audience will fall flat, no matter how clever it is.

How to celebrate a company anniversary on social media?

Social media is a great tool to engage a wide audience, and it’s important to keep social strategy in mind when planning your anniversary video. You can share a variety of content across a variety of different channels to help generate excitement around your milestone anniversary.

When it comes to video for social media, you’ll want to keep aspect ratio and algorithms in mind. Vertical video (9:16) is popular on channels like TikTok and Instagram Reels, while landscape orientation (16:9) is common on LinkedIn and YouTube. These different aspect ratios require different filming approaches. In other words, avoid simply filming in landscape and then cropping to vertical after the fact. It can be done, but you might lose some of the artistry of the original video.

Each social network has different algorithms that serve your video to different people, and they are constantly being updated. Most algorithms will prioritize engagement such as likes, comments, and shares, so create social content that starts a conversation or that inspires people to share the video with their own networks. If you know your target audience is very active on a specific social network platform, do a deep dive into what that network’s algorithm prioritizes and consider how you can tailor your video to best suit that platform. Above all, create interesting content that people want to watch. In the end, your video is meant to be seen by people, not computers, so while the algorithm can factor into the decisions you make, it shouldn’t drive them. 

Should you make a company anniversary video teaser?

Some organizations choose to make a teaser for their anniversary video to drum up excitement before the video launches. A teaser can be nice to have, especially if it also promotes an event at which the video will debut, but it isn’t necessary, nor is it standard — people won’t miss it if you don’t choose to create one. 

If you already know that a teaser is a must-have, then you should consider what that teaser looks like during the pre-production phase. If you are unsure about a teaser, keep in mind that this extra deliverable can generally be created after the main film, if you have extra time and budget. This means that the decision to create a teaser can be kicked down the road, if need be. 

How much to spend on a company anniversary video?

An anniversary video can be a huge asset for your company, driving excitement amongst employees and customers. It can pay dividends if done well, so allocate the appropriate funds to the video, if at all feasible for your organizations. The reality of video production is that it can get expensive. The major factors that will affect the budget are the desired production value, the number of shoot days, the level of graphics and animation, the length of the video, and the number of deliverables.

When working with a video production company, if you are releasing a ten-minute video with lots of 3D animation that requires shooting in multiple cities over multiple days, and you need several cut downs of the main film, your budget will likely sit solidly in the six figures. 

A smaller scale production that shoots in a day or two in one location and results in a single two to three minute film might land in the mid-five figures. 

Of course, every video production company will price their work differently, but most production companies can work within a variety of budgets. Like many products, corporate video production often aligns with the maxim “you get what you pay for.” A “high production value” corporate video usually requires a designated lighting tech, sound tech, hair and makeup artist, as well as an experienced director, director of photography, and producer, not to mention additional equipment. A larger, more experienced crew will cost more, so be sure that you and your production company are on the same page about what “look” you are expecting and if the company can achieve that look within your budget.

Most importantly, look at the work samples of any production company that you are considering. If you see something that resonates with you, consider reaching out to the company. They may be able to disclose the cost of that specific project, which can guide your thinking as you allocate funds for your own project.


Although video is ubiquitous, it is a big undertaking — even more so when it comes to a company anniversary video. There are many costs and considerations, and while this guide is not a comprehensive “how to,” I hope it offers a starting point to get you asking the right questions. 

In wrapping up, remember that creativity is a process. When the only limit is your imagination, there are plenty of dead ends and false starts. It requires trust and vulnerability, but it can be endlessly rewarding and result in something moving and powerful. In many ways, the creative process is remarkably similar to the process of starting a business. As you embark on this journey, when unforeseen circumstances arise or something doesn’t go according to plan, remember that the entrepreneurs who launched your company experienced many similar struggles.

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Mark Twain: “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” Your company’s founders did just that, now it’s your turn.