A non-profit in Central America turned every supporter into a walking billboard with their custom logo pins.
We used $400 worth of custom enamel pins to get 30K Instagram followers while netting a $64 return for each $1 of ad spend.
Each of these stories shows how enamel pins can be used for much than just ornamentation.
Enamel pins are a versatile marketing tool that drives brand awareness and loyalty for less cost—and for years longer—than other marketing investments.
Make in-person events more memorable
Trade shows, exhibitions, and other public events are great places to generate a groundswell of brand awareness. Logo pins make those interactions more memorable for your customers.
It was the 1893 World’s Fair, and H.J. Heinz was in a pickle. The middle-aged condiment and pickle purveyor had set up an elaborate exhibition stand at what promised to be one of the most widely visited events up to that point in U.S. history.
The problem? Heinz's booth was tucked away on the second floor of the agriculture building—not an ideal location for foot traffic.
His solution, which would go down in history as one of the earliest and most brilliant examples of guerilla marketing, was to send a group of kids into the crowd armed with tickets promising a free gift to anyone who found his exhibit.
The gift was a pickle-shaped charm (which would soon evolve into the modern Heinz pickle pin) with the company’s name on it.
The first Heinz “pickle pin” was actually a charm but quickly evolved into the pin form we know today. Source
It worked, well, like a charm. People lined up by the thousands to claim their gherkin gift, taste-testing Heinz’s array of products as they did.
Heinz’s handiwork brought over one million people through the second-floor corner of the fair.
The power of branded giveaways hasn’t faded. A study comparing various marketing mediums showed that more people (90%) remembered the brand from promotional products like enamel pins than from broadcast, online, print, or mobile ads.
We’ve watched our customers take advantage of the brand-awareness that logo pins produce, too.
Nacho Mama’s uses pins to create a community and generate online buzz for their Seattle-based food truck.
Nacho Mama’s isn’t just generating foot traffic with their pins. Just like H.J. Heinz did at the World’s Fair, they’re also creating brand ambassadors who share their message with the world.
Create ambassadors for your message
Every time a fan of your brand wears your pin in public, they’re generating valuable impressions for your message and mission. It’s like hiring an ambassador for the price of a pin.
When a supporter visits Creamos, they get a pin with an important piece of the non-profit’s message.
Creamos is a social entrepreneurship initiative that provides income-generating opportunities for Guatemalan women living in extreme poverty. Through their work, a marginalized population gains access to vocational, educational, and emotional support programs.
The organization’s pins are given as tokens of gratitude to supporters, used to promote their ethos of gender justice, and worn to celebrate commemorative days—like International Women’s Day—that champion vulnerable groups.
But Creamos says the most impactful use of their pins is to help supporters share the mission far and wide.
“Many of our supporters are foreigners who come to Guatemala for a short time,” they said. “Pins are a great way for people to bring a piece of Creamos home with them, and hopefully spark conversation with their friends and family who may never be able to visit our project in person.”
Whether you work for a business or a non-profit, you can take this page from Creamos’ public relations playbook by giving your fans a pin that proudly presents your mission.
In Lansing, Michigan, Strange Matter Coffee is gathering new fans with their cat in a box pin.
Pins are like little billboards that help your followers start a conversation about your brand with their network, turning your biggest fans into your best salespeople.
Grow your social media following exponentially without ads
More companies are spending more money to sell products and get followers on social media. You can cut through the competitive noise without paying for ads by giving away enamel pins.
It’s exactly how we gained our first 30K Instagram followers at WizardPins.
In our early days, we didn’t have the budget or bandwidth to test a bunch of Instagram ads. Instead, we ran a contest to give away one soft enamel pin.
In exchange for their entry, we asked people to:
- Follow us on Instagram
- Like our contest post
- Tag a friend
We gained hundreds of new followers for the cost of one enamel pin (about $10 retail).
Over the next 18 months, we ran 40 contests giving away one pin each time. We grew our account by 30K followers, but that wasn’t all. We also drove 104K website visitors from Instagram who bought a total of $25K worth of product.
Our total cost to run contests was $400 (the retail price we could have sold those 40 pins for). With $25K in sales, our return on ad spend was $62 for every $1 we spent—far outpacing any paid ads we’ve ever run.
While it’s pretty intuitive that a pin maker would give away pins, it’s a tactic we’ve seen used by all sorts of businesses and Instagram accounts.
And remember, Instagram's algorithm favors posts with high engagement. So while your contest post is getting those comments and likes, Instagram is showing them on more people's newsfeed, which generates even more engagement.
Make your brand more accessible
If you sell luxury goods that people don’t buy every day, you can use pins as an affordable proxy for your products, so more people buy into your brand.
You may not have $10K for one of Freehand Profit’s incredible mask sculptures, but you can get one in pin form for $15.
Artist Freehand Profit replicates many of his mask sculptures into enamel pins, making his work accessible to many more fans. Source and Source
The sculptor models a line of intricately designed enamel pins that capture his work in a medium that’s much more accessible to the average collector. This gives him a way to broaden his fan base and provides a secondary income stream while he works on his next mask project.
It’s not hard to find examples of luxury brands using this strategy as well. Porsche sells enamel pins on their website, so fans can be part of the club even if they’re not tooling around town in a 911.
The best part is that you can leverage this strategy to engage people from any generation; people of all ages say they keep promotional products.
Get more mileage from company milestones
Anniversaries, store openings, or a new round of funding are great marketing and public relations fodder. But even with the best PR strategies, the effect fades too soon. A pin made to commemorate the event will keep the buzz going a lot longer.
It’s a big deal when your company hits their 100th year. Knott’s Berry Farm made their centennial celebration last year by capturing the occasion in a series of custom logo pins.
The roots of “America’s oldest theme park” were planted in 1920 when the Knott family leased a plot of land in Buena Park, CA, to grow, you guessed it, berries. The farm grew to a berry stand, then a restaurant, then a collection of attractions, and eventually a theme park. The pins are the physical manifestation of this history.
In all, Knott’s released 100 individual pin designs—one for each year. Some pins featured Snoopy and other Peanuts characters, some historic sites around the farm, and many paid homage to the best attractions in the park.
Knott’s is leveraging the pins to attract attention on social media. Every pin released is announced on Instagram and Facebook, with each post getting thousands of likes, shares, and comments.
But the real magic is happening outside of the park's own activities. The 100 Anniversary pins are discussed on Reddit, featured in blogs, shared on Twitter, sold on eBay, covered by the media, and worn by countless fans.
Promotional products, like logo enamel pins, have some serious marketing endurance. In one survey, more than half of people said they keep promotional items for five years or more. That will keep the buzz of Knott’s centennial celebration alive long after the last of Virginia Knott’s famous berry pies are sold.
Given the success of using pins to mark company milestones, it’s no surprise that other brands use them as well. McDonald’s and Condor Cycles made pins for their anniversaries. Hard Rock Cafe releases a new pin for every store’s grand opening. And Apple’s product launch pins have become an entire niche of collectibles.
Design a custom business pin in a matter of minutesEnamel pins aren’t just highly effective and inexpensive public relations and marketing tools. They’re time-savers.
Why? Because you can manage the entire process of producing your own custom enamel pin, from idea to delivery, in just a few minutes. Try that with an ad campaign.
Just send us your design idea (a drawing, your logo, a sketch on a napkin), and we’ll send you a proof of what it will look like in pin form. We’ll tweak the design as many times as you like to get it just right, and you’ll have a pin that does some serious business-building heavy lifting.