With more than 50,000 products on the market—from Post-it® Notes and Scotch® tape to automotive and construction mainstays for businesses—3M understands the need to articulate the common thread that ties its brand together.
3M was awarded 3,342 patents in 2014, and 33 percent of its sales in 2014 came from products developed in the past five years. The company even has an executive panel in place, which meets quarterly, to award increased budgets to “disruptive” technologies.
At its core, the new corporate brand platform, “3M Science. Applied to Life.™” seeks to humanize 3M’s scientific capabilities, especially among the millennial generation. The new brand platform brings to life the DNA of the company, which is rooted in a culture of scientific curiosity, collaboration, and solving problems. It is a worldwide brand initiative that brings forward the unique culture of 3M with a powerful new visual and verbal identity, digital media approach, and messaging.
3M kicked off its global launch in the U.S. at SXSW, where 3M scientists shared the story behind the new brand platform. Festivalgoers were invited to tour the 3M LifeLab, an interactive experience housed in a structure built almost entirely of 3M products. It was an opportunity for people to be surprised and delighted by 3M and the products they make.
Despite the success of the platform launch, 3M was forced to revise its annual outlook due to a challenging economic growth environment. Still, the company plans to continue pursuing a multiyear strategy to raise R&D spending to about 6 percent of total sales by 2017. 3M is also streamlining by strengthening and focusing its business portfolio. It is building on a strong acquisition strategy, completing USD $3.5 billion in acquisitions in 2015 alone. Also in 2015, it announced a new 10-year sustainability initiative that includes doubling its pipeline for diverse talent and achieving “zero-landfill” status at 30 percent of its manufacturing plants. 3M also donated more than USD $80 million in cash and products in 2014.
3M has a promising year ahead with a growth strategy firmly rooted in science and disruptive innovation.