3 Traits of a Sticky Brand

Apr 12, 2011 | Branding Strategies

There’s something magical about a sticky brand. They stand out amongst all others, and they get talked about.

Apple is a master of creating brand buzz. I Googled the latest news on both the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 today, and found oodles of posts. The pundits are saying the iPad 3 won’t be released in 2011 as originally predicted by John Gruber of Daring Fireball. And the iPhone 5 could be delayed from a June launch to September – the horror!

Now, these discussions aren’t all that special until you look at the volume of conversations going on. People love to talk about Apple. They love to predict what they’re going to do next. They can’t wait for the new release so they can ooh and aah over the latest gear – and yes, I’m one of those fanboys too.

Apple has a sticky brand. They are findable, desirable and spreadable.


Google has become our first source of information. I’ve talked about it before, 93% of B2B purchases start with search.

Sticky brands are easy to find, because they’re easy to understand and easy to refer. We understand them for their core offering:

  • Apple: well designed, easy to use consumer electronics that are often game changing
  • Caterpillar: big, heavy equipment used for the toughest jobs
  • Google: when you want to find anything
  • BMW: performance sedans

Try it for yourself. Right down the brands that you think are sticky, and then ask what do they do? I bet it won’t take much thought to add a descriptor to them.


Every year Interbrand produces a list of the Top 100 Global Brands. When you scan the list you don’t see commodities and faceless companies. You find companies like Ferrari, Disney and Louis Vuitton. These are companies we identify with.

Most sticky brands are aspirational and desirable. It’s fun to visit Ferrari’s website, and view the latest supercars. It’s always an experience to visit Disney World, or watch one of their movies.

These are brands we choose to purchase. We seek them out and often pay a premium for them, because we desire their products. Purchasing a sticky brand makes us feels good.


When we feel good about our purchases, we talk about them. Over the past few weeks the iPad 2 has been the big toy to show. It’s funny how many of my friends have shown me their new iPads, and I have to agree it’s a pretty talkable device.

Sticky brands empower their customers to talk about them. Their fans are their greatest asset. When I searched for the iPad 3 and the iPhone 5, I didn’t find any comments from Apple. All of the conversations were from pundits, analysts and fans. The community interested in Apple’s products were leading the conversations and spreading the word.

Sticky brands are not just for the big guys

Almost any company can create a sticky brand. All of my examples in this post have been of global brands, but that’s because they’re universally recognizable.

Small companies can have sticky brands too. If they are findable, desirable and spreadable they will stick.

What brands do you consider sticky and why?

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Jeremy Miller

Top 30 Brand Guru

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