As consumer product brands explore digital, connecting real life products to interactive elements online has become increasingly important. One startup in contention to do just that is Stickybits.

Stickybits lets people connect barcodes with any piece of digital information they can create. When the company launched at SXSW in February, the technology was in place, but the full potential of the product was not yet a reality. Today at CM Summit in New York, Stickybits announced the brand partnerships that can actually make it a successful and useful business.

Stickybits was the hot new startup at SXSW in Austin this year, but at launch it was still something of a novelty. The company handed out free barcode stickers and soon there was Stickybit data all over Austin’s convention center. It was definitely a fun product, but difficult for some to get their head around scalable applications.

Now the brand model is ready for business. Seth Goldstein, the company's chairman and cofounder, uses Foursquare to explains how Stickybits works:

“Foursquare turns locations into media. Stickybits turns objects into media through barcodes.”

There are plenty of fun and inventive applications for Stickybits, but it’s brand partnerships that will make it scalable and make the use case more obvious.

Today, the company announced "official bits," which allow brands to automatically own their barcodes, so that consumers are sent to branded information when they scan any partner barcode.

When Stickybits launched, anyone could take ownership of a brand's barcode. I spoke with founder Billy Chasen at the time, and as he said:

"The first person that attaches to the code is considered the moderator and can delete anything that’s added afterwards. Soon we'll have ways for brands to manage their Stickybits. Right now we’ve launched the consumer model."

Individuals can still update and play with branded stickybits, but starting today, brands can moderate and guide the conversation, which is a big step.

Making Stickybits an integral part of digital barcode sharing depends on partnerships with large brands. Says Goldstein:

“What we imagine for consumer product companies, is that now that product on the shelf becomes a media channel.”

The company’s first partner is Pepsi. Working with such a large brand, that has been making a lot of smart moves in digital, is a great step for Stickybits.

They’re also working with Campbell’s soup and they’re ad agency BBDO to create new ways to communicate and share recipes. Says Goldstein:

“I think Stickybits represents a whole new way of thinking of the connection between the physical world and the digital world.”

And with brands actively pointing customers to their data on a massive scale, it opens up the possibility that Stickybits will be an integral part of the digital conversation going forward.

Images: Stickybits

Meghan Keane

Published 7 June, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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