Treehouse Stickers Blog

The Startup Currency

Date: 2017-02-19

Reddit has become an extreme content superhighway.  It covers almost every category imaginable. They boast 234 million unique users and 8 billion monthly Reddit page views (2016). This puts them at the 24th most visited website in the world.  Number 7 in the United States (2016). Users can submit content and the content can then be voted on by the community. The number of upvotes determines the ranking of the post. Categories of information are called Subreddits. There are over 800,000 Subreddits ranging from “worldnews” to “futurology”, “awww”, “jokes” and even “todayilearned”.

But where did it all start?

Reddit was founded by 2 roommates (not unlike us) ‐ Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. They received $12,000 of funding and moved to Mass. Their unorthodox brand awareness technique has ensured that they never had to spend money on advertising ever again.  Today, their readers alone speak to the success of what this team started out to do - build something that people would love.  

What did Reddit do?

They surged forward with a gigantic startup advertising investment of 500 dollars. They spent this $500 on stickers. Every. Single. Dollar.

Online reach is phenomenal and can guarantee exceptional reach. But sometimes, you have to step back and go completely old school.  

Alexis used to travel and took these stickers with him wherever he went. He put them on street poles, signs and even on other advertisements.  

He handed them out at events and gatherings. He even gave them out to regular people on the street.  

The team’s idea was that they needed to give something away in a special way. This would make the receiver feel special, like they were part of something. When handed the stickers, receivers would be told “Please sticker responsibly!”.

The technique was completely unorthodox and the results were nothing short of spectacular.

The love set Reddit free

They didn’t need to go out and stick all the stickers themselves. That would have completely missed the point. People look for support and a sense of community wherever they go. The stickers provided that.

The people who were handed the stickers created the buzz around Reddit of their own accord. They stirred up a love for it that remains today.

People started noticing the brand. Those who were handed the stickers became ambassadors for the Reddit idea. Soon, the stickers caught on like wild fire.

Fans started creating their own versions of the Reddit identity ‐ a cute little alien. The photos of people sticking the stickers were cropping up all over the internet. Someone even got a tattoo of the Reddit alien!

Reddit today

The stickers managed to pull together a small community which served to propel the business forward. This small community is what helped Reddit to rush forward and become the brand that everyone knows today.

The success of Reddit’s marketing story is powerful, especially in a digital age. Stickers have come to be known as “the startup currency” because of Reddit’s success. This revolutionary advertising stunt pulled in the community that they needed to kick off the ground.  

Final thought:

Reddit used a cute alien. What would your startup currency look like? Send us your design, we'd love to be your printer.