The Remarkable Social Power of Sticker Marketing
Despite their simplicity, stickers seem to have exploded, even in an era of digital marketing and social media. Not entirely convinced of the resurgence of stickers? Let’s look at two compelling examples of the social power of sticker marketing.
Iconic Sticker Marketing Strategies
I Voted Stickers
These stickers have been ubiquitous since the 1980s and are a social badge of honor. So much so that when polling stations ran out, they faced wrath from eager voters even in a midterm election! Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds fill with photos of citizens (including major celebs and influencers) showcasing their “I Voted” stickers with pride. A primary reason people vote is to tell people they did, or more specifically, to avoid the shame they’d feel by having to say to people they didn’t. The “I Voted” sticker is a brilliant psychological tool as it offers people a tangible reason to vote. Once they do, they can be part of the public group of individuals who exercise their civic duty (action + reward).
Launched in 2005 by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, Reddit pitched itself as the “front page of the Internet” and, thanks to exceptional growth, now has over 35 million unique monthly visitors. According to its founders, Reddit owes its success to its measly marketing budget of $500 - spent solely on STICKERS. They bought $500 worth of stickers showcasing their adorable alien logo and tagline and put them on everything - plastered on signs and poles, handed out at events and meetups, and given to random passersby. Over time, photos of these stickers and the Reddit alien flooded social media, news stories, and more. Not long after, the Reddit community began creating fan art, evidence of the community’s brand loyalty.
Why Are Stickers Such An Important Marketing Tool?
Stickers are an easy and creative way for people to showcase their identity. Sit in a coffee shop for a few minutes, and you’ll see water bottles and laptops covered in branded stickers that help show the world what a person believes in and likes. This form of self-expression makes stickers a powerful “offline” form of social media and broadcasting.
And who are we kidding? Stickers are just fun. Remember when you were a kid, and you could entertain yourself for hours with a book of stickers? That feeling is still deep inside all of us. So people of all ages get a little thrill when they get a sticker, especially when it is free!
People’s emotional connection to stickers is why brands love them so much. They have proven to be a powerful and highly cost-effective marketing and recommendation tool.
If you can get your brand’s sticker on someone’s water bottle, it’s such an authentic personal endorsement of your company. Adding a branded sticker to a customer’s experience or impact point with your brand can help make your brand more relatable and interconnected.
Looking to grow your brand awareness and expand your social community? Here are seven ways to use stickers to strengthen your brand and grow your business:
- Use a sticker to seal your packages: Whether you use blank or custom branded packaging, sealing it with a thoughtfully designed sticker can enrich the customer experience. Why? Because your customers have to see, read and interact with the sticker to open their package. Want to make sure your customers know your packaging is eco-friendly? Want to encourage them to reuse or recycle their packaging? Want them to feel incredibly excited about your company? Want to emphasize an important call to action? Put this info on an eye-catching sticker!
- Use a sticker to spice up the unboxing experience: YouTube has over 100 million videos related to unboxing -- eCommerce customers taking time out of their day to film and share their experience opening up packages they received. Make your shipments worthy of sharing by turning them into a gift experience. Wrap your products in beautiful (eco-friendly!) tissue paper. Add hemp twine. Seal it with a unique sticker. Box it up in branded packaging. With care given to every step of unboxing your shipment, love on social media follows.
- Give your customers a chance to show off: Are you a clean beauty company? Do you source plastic waste from the ocean for your products? Do you sell only vegan apparel? Are you a 1% for the Planet company? Think about what makes your company unique and why your customers should be proud to work with your brand. Then design an awesome sticker that lets your customers show off the values they’ve supported by purchasing from you. Include these stickers in your shipments and encourage recipients to “sticker responsibly” -- on their cars, laptops, reusable coffee mugs, and luggage.
- Share tidbits with your customers: A twist on the above strategy! If you’re unsure how to help your customers show off, give them a chance to share some knowledge with the world. Do you sell reusable straws? Make a sticker reminding folks to skip the straw -- “We use 500 million plastic straws every day -- enough to circle Earth 2.5 times!” Do you plant trees with every purchase? Create a sticker letting people know that trees are true environmental superheroes!
- Promote social media or newsletter participation: Take a page from the Lauren James playbook. This company used to offer a free sticker for anyone that signs up for your newsletter (or engages with you via social media if that is your preferred communication platform). It worked for Lauren James, who saw opt-in rates far above the industry average -- a considerable value and return for the company on the relatively low cost of stickers.
- Build a social media campaign around your stickers: The ubiquity of the “I Voted” sticker on social media has taken decades and millions of dollars to build. Get there faster by bridging the world of offline and digital marketing through incentives (promotions, special discounts, freebies, etc.) that encourage your customers and fans to share images of your stickers on social media with a campaign hashtag.
- Encourage Blitzkrieg stickering: Take a page from the Reddit playbook and get yourself thousands of eco-friendly sticker rolls. Share them with anyone and everyone you possibly can - friends, event participants, strangers on the street, etc. Leave stacks of them at coffee shops and restaurants. Send them out via direct mail.
Don't Skimp On Sticker Design
Eco-friendly stickers can spice up packages, delight customers, and make your brand even more memorable. We unpack the remarkable social power of sticker marketing and how they can extend your brand through the unpackaging experience.
The sticker marketing strategies mentioned above only work with thoughtfully designed stickers. For example, a basic sticker featuring the company name, website, and logo will not cut it for most companies. Instead, you’ll want to add something unique to your stickers through imagery, a powerful call-to-action, or witty copy.
Here are a few examples of custom-printed stickers.
We recommend planning your stickering strategy and then designing a sticker that effectively supports that strategy. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you hoping that people sticker their goods? Are you expecting someone to read and process a sticker as they open your packages? Are you hoping that someone posts the sticker on social media?
Answer these key questions and design an eco-friendly sticker that effectively supports that end goal.
If you’re running a social media campaign with your stickers, make the sticker design unique and shareable, and add your hashtag to them. If you’re sealing your package with them, add a call-to-action that keeps your customers connected and engaged with your brand.
Can Stickers Be Eco-Friendly?
Stickers are a challenge for eco-minded companies because they are an “extra” bit of material that is rarely essential to the product or customer experience. However, their potential impact on brand development and sales growth is undeniable.
Customers often ask us, “Are stickers biodegradable? Can stickers be recycled?” Historically, stickers have been notoriously “un-friendly.” How can a sustainable brand address this dilemma? There are now several eco-friendly sticker options, with their own environmental (and aesthetic) pros and cons. Learn more on our blog: Finding The Most Sustainable Custom Stickers For Your Brand.
Shop EcoEnclose Custom Stickers & Learn More
We are proud to offer stickers that are sustainable and earth-friendly. Our eco-friendly stickers are made with 100% post-consumer waste and have a Recycled-Compatible Adhesive. Many are available on are available on our unique Zero Waste Release Liner that is recycled and recyclable.
Craving more information on stickers? Learn everything there is to know in our Definitive Guide To Custom Stickers.