Throughout the years Kotton Grammer has been fortunate enough to work with a number of museums and not-for-profit institutions across the country. We’ve proudly produced custom made buttons for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Modern Art, EMP Museum, and many more additional museums who continue to find innovative ways to incorporate custom buttons with all who enjoy their establishments.
We’ve gathered 4 examples of how museums are using button pins as inexpensive and memorable pieces of promotion for their members and soon-to-be-members that you’ll want to take some notes on.
1. Build A Community
Building a community for your museum does more than bring foot traffic in your door. The community created inside should inspire learning as well as be enjoyable for any museum-goer. The sense of community begins with the environment created by the staff. Personalized pins for employees can be used for conversation starters with a classic like, “Have any Questions? I can help!” or even use buttons to allow the staff to show more personality and call out to their favorite exhibit.
The Shedd Aquarium for example often has their staff members wear buttons that can begin a conversation with any guest. In late 2015, The Shedd Aquarium’s Pacific White-Sided Dolphin gave birth. Instead of just announcing the baby’s name to members in an emailed newsletter, the Shedd decided to get their community involved. Staff members started wearing either a “#TeamMakoa” or “#TeamKolohe” to show which name they supported for the new addition to the aquarium’s family. Guests were encouraged to cast their vote online through social media, in which all the votes would be tallied to determine the name for the calf.
2. Reward Loyal Members
For not-for-profits and museums, coming up with creative ways to engage members to renew can be difficult. You want to encourage new members, current members, or seasoned members with gifts or prizes, but you don’t want to break the bank either. That’s why custom pin buttons can work so well— they’re inexpensive but are high quality and wearable making them lasting tokens of appreciation.
That’s exactly why the Art Institute of Chicago chose to make buttons for their Renewal Drive Campaign. Dan O’Donoghue, Manager of Communications for Membership Experience at the Art Institute, said they used buttons as an affordable way to acknowledge the members who renewed and contributed to this campaign.
When debating over the type of promotional item you’d like to gift your community, keep in mind that custom buttons can be worn proudly and have a permanent quality to them. Dan O’Donoghue commented that this was the main reason The Art Institute decided with buttons over stickers, because stickers “come off as cheap and temporary”.
3. Throw a Party
Sometimes your members just want to know that you appreciate them! Throwing an event after hours or calling to attention special members only gatherings could be that simple, easy solution to give the ‘membership’ title more exclusivity to promote sign ups.
The Field Museum is taking this idea a step further with an entire week dedicated to its faithful supporters. This year, The Field Museum wanted to go above and beyond the expectation with more. Members will be able to attend member-only tours with the company of the museum’s top scientists explaining the work they are currently conducting or showing the newest items to be added to collections. These tours will be able to see the first looks at upcoming exhibits (like their Tattoo exhibit) and hear from Field Museum staff on how the showcase was put together.
The Field Museum will also have a range of activities for members during this appreciate week like the Wood Shop and Mount Shop, a mammal dissection area where real specimens are cleaned and prepared for research, daily raffles for museum members to win exhibit tickets or merchandise, and of course — custom buttons!
“We wanted to give them something fun to take home, so we designed these limited edition buttons showcasing just a few of the objects in our collections (there are over 30 million in total!).” – Jenna Lieblich, Membership Manager – Field Museum
4. Limited Edition Buttons
As with the Field Museum example above, members love the idea that the button they received for an event, new exhibit, or for their donation is a limited edition button. Not only will that button show peers your museum’s name, but it displays the benefits of becoming a member so effortlessly.
The Museum of Ventriloquism, The Vent Haven Museum, sells exclusive 24k gold buttons once a year to members at their annual ConVENTion. Only a small quantity of the buttons are ordered, to increase the demand for these limited edition pinbacks. The proceeds are sent to the museum, and members are then left with the everlasting token that they not only donated to one of their favorite museums, but they are part of an inner circle of members that hold this button.
Though buttons can be small, they pack a powerful statement. Everyday we’re delighted with new and original ideas on how buttons can be used in businesses, for events, not-for-profits, museums, and so much more. Make your own buttons and borrow these ideas to grow your audience and build a community, and be sure to let us know on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook the ways you use your buttons everyday.