10 BEST FORMATS FOR YOUR CUSTOMER HISTORY BOOK
Given all that goes into starting and successfully running a business, chances are that your company has a story to tell.
Have you been tasked with sharing it? Maybe you have a milestone anniversary to celebrate, a legacy to preserve, or a great brand origin to share.
Whatever the reasons, if you’ve thought about chronicling your company history, you may have discovered there are several styles and formats to consider.
If you don’t know where to begin, here are 10 company history books to get your creative juices flowing:
1. Beyond the Pale – The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Ken Grossman’s memoir chronicles his personal experience as a homebrewer turned mega-successful craft brewer. In some 250 pages, Grossman shares not only his adventures and anecdotes, but the approach and mindset that built his brand. The book also contains a section of full-color photography depicting his journey, serving as a well-done combination of memoir and illustrative history.
2. Kaufman Fruit 100th Anniversary Book
In this 145-page history, the Kaufman family includes a wide variety of family and product photographs, more than 50 fruit recipes, and stories based on 30 interviews – a style to consider if your family business has interesting anecdotes to share.
3. Anadarko 20th Anniversary Book
This 165-page company history may look standard at first glance, but what stands out is the use of large, high-end photography, sometimes spanning a page or a full spread, as well as the incorporation of employees, past and present. If you have a strong culture and/or strong company imagery, this may be a style to consider for your book.
4. Behind the Cloud – The Salesforce.com Memoir
Written by the founder of Salesforce.com, this memoir reads like nothing else on our list. In fact, it’s more like a playbook on how the startup became one of the world's fastest-growing software companies. If sharing industry or entrepreneurial knowledge is more your thing, this may be the history book style for your company.
5. The Cullen Way – J.P. Cullen 125th Anniversary Book
Family owned businesses and construction companies will want to consider this corporate history commissioned by three brothers in honor of their late father. In 155 pages, the book highlights the company’s construction project portfolio, a family tree, and a history that not only chronicles the business, but the family, dating back to the 1800s.
6. Aerojet 100th Anniversary Book
If the length and level of detail of some anniversary books makes you shy away from the idea, take a look at Aerojet’s concise compilation of history and photos in just 45 pages. Bulleted copy and a timeline make the book easy to comb through, and there is no shortage of imagery, from products, to personal photographs, to advertisements and newspaper clippings over the years.
7. Korte Company 50th Anniversary Book
If your company history archives include plenty of tangible mementos, consider a scrapbook-style chronicle. For this 145-page book, everything from drawings and floorplans, to newspaper clippings, to hand-written notes were scanned in and used to illustrate a 50-year history.
8. Godiva 90th Anniversary Coffee Table Book
As you might expect, Godiva Chocolate’s anniversary book is a decadent journey through the company’s craftsmanship over the years. Unlike many of the others on our list, this one takes a coffee-table-book approach, full of attractive product photos and pitched as a the perfect gift for chocolate lovers – an angle to consider if you have an aesthetically pleasing product or service (think architecture, food, fashion, travel).
9. Black Hills Corporation 125th Anniversary Book
This 200-page company history includes a nice balance of text and imagery, but unlike some of the other books featured here, its design relies heavily on the energy company’s corporate colors – a great example of what can be done through graphic design should your business be lacking on photography.
10. Wild Company: The Untold Story of Banana Republic
In this memoir penned by the founders of retail great Banana Republic, husband-and-wife team Mel and Patricia Ziegler write in alternating voices to tell their remarkable story. The nearly 100-page book is filled mostly with text supplemented by black-and-white photography and artist illustrations. Said by reviewers to read like fiction, this book may be a good example for companies with a charismatic voice and a surprising story to inspire entrepreneurial success.