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 1980’s and are a social badge of honor. So much so, that when polling stations ran out, they were faced with a wrath from eager voters...evenin 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 that people vote is so they can tell people they did, or more specifically, so they can avoid the shame they’d feel by having to tell 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 exercised their civic duty (action + reward).
Launched in 2005 by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, Reddit was pitched 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 their measly marketing budget of $500 - all of which was spent on STICKERS. They bought $500 worth of stickers showcasing their adorable alien logo and tagline, and put them on everything. Reddit stickers were plastered on signs and poles, they handed them out at events, meetups, and to random passersby. Over time, photos of these stickers and the Reddit alien flooded social media, news stories and more, and 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’re bound to see water bottles and laptops covered in branded stickers that help show the world what a person likes and believes in. 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. People of all ages get a little thrill when they get a sticker, especially when the sticker is free!
This emotional connection that people have to stickers is why brands love them so much.
What a powerful and extremely 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. If you can add a branded sticker to a customer’s experience or impact point with your brand, it can help make your brand more relatable and interconnected.
- Use a sticker to seal your packages: Whether you use blank or custom branded packaging, sealing it with a thoughtfully designed sticker can really enrich the customer experience. Why? Because your customers have to see, read and interact with the sticker in order 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 especially 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 their 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 is bound to follow.
- 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 be working 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, luggage.
- Share tidbits with your customers: A twist on the above strategy! If you’re not sure 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 custom 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 and 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 has seen opt-in rates far above the industry average -- a huge 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 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
Custom stickers: they 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 if your sticker is thoughtfully designed. For most companies, a basic sticker featuring the company name, website and logo isn’t going to cut it. 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 first, and then designing a sticker that effectively supports that strategy. What you are trying to accomplish. Are you hoping that people sticker their own personal goods? Are you hoping that someone reads and processes a sticker as they are opening your packages? Are you hoping that someone posts the sticker on social media?
Answer these key questions and then design a sticker that effectively supports that end goal.
If you’re running a social media campaign with your stickers, make the sticker design unique, 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 are almost never essential to the product or customer experience. However, their potential impact on brand development and sales growth is undeniable. We’re often asked by customers, “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 a number of eco-friendly sticker options, with their own environmental (and aesthetic) pros and cons. We’ll explore these options further in Part II of our Stickers blog post.
Here at EcoEnclose, we are proud to now offer sustainable custom printed stickers. EcoEnclose’s custom branded stickers are made with 100% post-consumer waste and have a Recycled Compatible Adhesive. We offer the industry’s first and only “Liner Take Back Program.”