3m, Innovation Consulting, Synectics, Synetics, Design Thinking, Brainstorming, Innovation Training, Strategy Consulting, Growth Model, Innovation


3M, maker of Scotch video tape, is fundamentally a science-based company, but when it found itself facing a problem that couldn’t be solved with chemistry and math it came to Synecticsworld. With changes in the market, consumers’ tastes, and the ever-widening field of competitive products, industry leader 3M needed to re-evaluate the brand position of its successful line of Scotch consumer video products first introduced in the 1950s. Additionally, the company wanted to bring audio and camcorder tapes under the same proposition. For a company with $15.5 billion in worldwide sales, brand presence in nearly 200 countries, and more than 75,000 employees, there was tremendous pressure to succeed in re-establishing their product’s worldwide dominance.

“People at 3M thought Synectics was an intriguing and rewarding process. What we got out of it was highly worthwhile – and well worth the money. The consumers enjoyed it too because the Synectics consultants were tremendous fun to work with and drew on their experience to make something out of nothing.”
Helen Adams – 3M


Of course, the conventional approach would have been for 3M to conduct consumer perception interviews to assess strength of brand relative to alternatives. But 3M, long one of the world’s most innovative companies, knew that the well-traveled road was not likely to generate the powerful ideas it needed. Synectics began by helping 3M re-evaluate the brand proposition of its flagship, the Scotch consumer video business, in light of the onslaught of new technology, consumers’ attitudes, and competitive products.

The consumer and 3M groups worked in parallel on a program that consisted of:

• Half-day training for the consumer group
• Two-day ‘Creativity with Consumers’ workshop
• Half-day ‘Creative Debriefing and Development’ workshop


The two groups successfully generated six brand propositions, two of which reflected the firm’s original thinking, and four innovative propositions that were completely new. 3M then tested those propositions in consumer focus groups.

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