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Gold Stars Everywhere: Sticker Incentives and School Marketing

By Lance Trebesch May 5, 2010

Kids and Stickers. They go together like sparkles and glue, like gift-wrap and tape, like paste and construction paper. Kids love Stickers. Educators know that kids love Stickers. Marketing professionals know that kids love Stickers. Isn’t it time you used a resource your school has in abundance—kids—and one that you can obtain easily—Stickers—to promote your school, motivate your students, and create something unique to represent your values?

Adherence: Marketing 101

The best way to sell something is to get your customers to sell it for you. If you’ve ever invited corporate sponsors into your school, or participated in any large, multi-school program, you’ve most likely noticed that free Stickers are offered to your kids. Some of them may end up in the trash, the laundry, or the bottoms of your students’ sneakers, but it only takes one Sticker, stuck in the right place, to create free advertising.

Some adults may be wary of sticking ads on their personal property. Not so with kids! Those who love Stickers the most will be happy to stick any corporate logo on their notebook. Why not take advantage of this trend to market your school? If a child will happily display the name of a company that has offered him or her a free water bottle, how much more will they be willing to spread the word about the school they love?

Follow Instructions

All you need to do is print your school’s name on a stack of Vinyl, Economy, or Bumper Stickers. But don’t stop there. You’ve got a website, right? Prominent inclusion of the URL makes it easier for potential parents to find you online. What about a logo? If you haven’t got a logo, hold a contest and get the kids to draw one for you. Now you’ve got a beautiful, child-centric design to attract the people you want.

Other options include adding an image of your school, your mascot, prominent alumni, or anything else that appeals to your students. This is a creative medium! Stretch your mind: find the images that work for you, and add your names and website to create the perfect marketing tool.

The Old Math

You may already be using Stickers to spread the word. Many schools offer Bumper Stickers to parents of honors children, and more recently, these Stickers have been customized for parents of children in the band, on sports teams, with perfect attendance, or even those who simply show up on a semi-regular basis. “Proud Parent of an XYZ School Student” may be enough.

If you’re not already offering Bumper Stickers along these lines to your parents, either as rewards for their children’s performance or as part of your fundraising efforts, this is one situation when you want to be on the bandwagon.

The New Math

Bumper Stickers are, as they say, Old School. They certainly get around, but there’s more to the story. Why aren’t you offering your kids custom Stickers with their school’s name on them?

If you begin with an assortment, you can use them as incentives and rewards for different activities. You can create Stickers for each athletic team, each after-school activity, each instrument in the band. You can create Stickers that celebrate grades, attendance, or community service.

You can create a range of collectible Stickers to motivate young children to complete a series of tasks so they can collect them all. You can create customized rewards that will be highly coveted. Just find an inexpensive source for items that children need or want anyway, then slap a Sticker in the center:

  • Notebooks
  • Pencil cases
  • Water bottles
  • Kleenex packets
  • Binders
  • ID cards or badges
  • Folders

Better yet, ask your students what kind of prizes they’d like to earn!

The more items available, the more stealth marketing you can do. Wherever your kids take their Stickers, they’re offering your school free publicity.

Final Exam

Small and portable, the possibilities are pretty much limited by how many Stickers you’re willing to buy and your creativity in finding ways to use and distribute them. Once they’re in the kids’ hands, those Stickers will announce to the world you’re your school is on the map. Whether you choose to sell them or give them away, offer them as prizes or incentives, Stickers in schools create a winning situation all around.