Post-it® Brand
Making the Case for Analog in a Digital World

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.

Jen Stoltenow
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor, Post-it® Brand

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.

Christian Erickson
Cre­ative & Found­ing Part­ner, Zeus Jones

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.

Jen Stoltenow

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.

Mike Rook
Cre­ative, Zeus Jones

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.

Ellie Schneider
Cre­ative, Zeus Jones

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.

Jen Stoltenow

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.

Jen Stoltenow

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.

Jen Shadowens
Engage­ment Strate­gist, Zeus Jones

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.”

Jen Stoltenow
Jen Stoltenow

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.

Jen Stoltenow

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.