Showing what’s possible on paper
Post-it® Notes are synonymous with creating lists, reminders and even quick doodles. But as the digital world has crept into our everyday interactions, the brand was in danger of losing relevancy amongst younger, more tech-forward audiences. To counter this, Zeus Jones and Post-it® Brand began a relationship in 2014 to unlock what’s possible with this family of everyday products.
Prior to working with Zeus Jones, we worked with no fewer than seven different agencies — each focused on different products with different uses across the office, home, and education environment.
Together we combined a bunch of these product campaigns into platforms built around customer needs. For example, we identified products related to teamwork and reorganized them into our collaboration platform.
This was a really dramatic change for the Post-it® Brand, something that had never really been done before in nearly 30 years. And I would say it was a pretty big change for 3M in general to see work that was less focused on product and more focused on people.
When we started looking at how people use these products, we realized there are so many things we could tap into. Take collaboration for example. A lot of people have trouble working in groups — they think their ideas aren’t up to the caliber of their peers and hold themselves back, often hurting themselves and the group because they’re potentially sitting on a killer idea.
We realized that Post-it® Products are really tools that help everyone contribute ideas.
We looked at other platforms like education and realized that STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) topics are intimidating to a lot of students. Post-it® Products can break down these complex subjects into bite size interactions and create a visual language for problem-solving that anyone can easily use.
Another thing the team was able to do was to tap into the importance of the brand in culture. Our products are in TV shows, movies — you see them everywhere.
And since the products are so ubiquitous, we realized Post-it® Brand could stand for something so much bigger.
We discovered people who were using the products to make statements that we thought were powerful and aligned with the brand. We found someone who was using the brand to speak out against bullying and amplified their voice. We put the spotlight on Operation Beautiful which uses Post-it® Notes to combat negative self-image issues. We also found people who use the notes to treat Alzheimer’s patients or donate food to the homeless. The list goes on and on.
Another example is the Post-it® War. We were actively listening for opportunities that showed how people were using the products in different ways. That’s when we saw a handful of businesses in New York using Post-it® Notes as art in their windows to challenge their neighbors across the street. We amplified this movement by sending them kits with tons of products for even more ammunition.
“These efforts fueled a mini-phenomenon over the course of 10 days in NYC and earned 700 million impressions.”
I mean, it’s insane. I’ve never seen a brand do that before. We started seeing it all over the world. In Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Brazil…
We’ve always believed that physical tools are extremely valuable in culture. When I first started working on the brand, it felt like everyone was going to Evernote and focusing on digital tools. And now I feel like the world has followed us in the belief that analog is super important. For productivity, organization and especially creativity.
On the surface, Post-it® Products are such low-involvement tools but we’ve been able to uncover all these intrinsic powers within every product. It’s exciting — people who work on the brand wake up every day to see new articles that feature people who are taking our ideas and running with them. To me, that’s what truly makes a powerful brand.