By: Collin Hummel, 3M Senior Experience Manager
One of my greatest passions is coming up with big ideas. Whether it’s wrapping a building, bringing a DeLorean to New York City for Back to the Future Day or making a stadium glow purple, in my career as 3M’s Senior Experience Manager, I’ve loved working hand-in-hand with graphics manufacturers to figure out how to bring those ideas to life.
Last summer, I had the chance to put that passion – and 3M graphic films – to the test at the inaugural 3M Open. As the title sponsor of this PGA TOUR stop, held in a suburb of Minneapolis, the 3M brand would find itself in front of 18 million television viewers. It was a huge opportunity to showcase 3M Science in creative and imaginative ways across every corner of the golf course.
From the very beginning, we teamed up with Brand Ink, a graphics manufacturer based in Minneapolis. They were willing to do things that weren’t typical or traditional, like building frameworks that we could then wrap. Brand Ink was not only integral in bringing ideas to life, but also figuring out ways to make installations reusable and using materials that were not going to be wasteful or harmful.
With our team assembled and our mission confirmed … now what?
We started by asking ourselves, “What do we represent? Why are we having this tournament? What good can we do with this global moment?” We also wanted fans to feel the power of community and be inspired by the idea that when we come together to support a greater cause, our impact can reach far beyond ourselves. We created the 3M Open Fund to benefit several local charities using proceeds from the tournament. As part of that, our slogan “Golf That Matters” became a compass to help guide our efforts.
Next, we had to figure out how to showcase a company that is made up of 91,000 people and sells 55,000 products, all under the umbrella of “3M Science. Applied to Life™” -- AND do it in a way that means something to people who are coming to a golf tournament, first and foremost, to see golf. We didn’t want to get in the way of that, so we focused on how we could elevate and enhance their experience.
Finally, as the most northern stop on the PGA tour, we knew in some form or fashion we were going to play up the Minnesota summer life. That’s why you saw things like the big swings and Adirondack chairs. We also wanted to take advantage of water on the course, because we knew the cameras would pick it up, so we decided to make something that would float.
We went to a number of different PGA TOUR tournaments and asked other title sponsors: What’s worked? What would you repeat? What would you not do? Getting a broader understanding of the PGA TOUR landscape and how events not only showcase their respective brands, but cater to their audiences, was vital. The PGA is also really great to work with because they work hand-in-hand with title sponsors to ensure the brand is reflected well and the event is run smoothly.
We had to think through what types of activations would really stand out to raise awareness about our brand and our mission; how can we bring 3M Science to life at a golf tournament? It was imperative that anything we did on that course would show up on TV in a vibrant, clean, crisp and cohesive way. We wanted the bright red 3M logo to really pop. We were able to achieve beautiful richness of colors with 3M’s own huge catalogue of graphic films.
We also knew the cameras would be pointing at the golf course from multiple directions, including from the sky. Graphics had to be positioned more creatively than just flat against a wall. We took advantage of the tops of tents. We also made a point to create three-dimensional objects, like the cube floating on the pond, that could bear the 3M logo on all sides and be seen from any direction. In watching the telecast, our brand toolkit – fonts, colors, logos – all came across clearly and consistently.
Even before the installation process began, we knew that regardless of where we placed installations on the course, we had to make sure they would hold up in all weather conditions. With the swath of these canvases, we needed materials that could hold up to the abuse they would take in the hot July sun and possible summer storms, and also potentially withstand hundreds of thousands of footsteps.
We used 3M graphic films on a variety of substrates: tent canvases and flooring, decking, walls, windows, signage on the course, and the floating box that would be out in the elements. For especially tricky surfaces, we used 3M™ Controltac™ Graphic Film with Comply™ v3 Adhesive IJ180Cv3, which is slideable and repositionable. In places where we needed graphics to be removed quickly and easily, we used 3M™ Print Wrap Film IJ180mC-10UR. We also relied heavily on 3M™ Controltac™ Print Film 40C-10R, which is a workhorse film that performs well in variety of situations. We used a number of other 3M films for various applications, creating a truly unique and authentic opportunity to showcase our brand.
At the end of the day, it’s all about communicating your brand and message in an authentic way that gets seen. Once we figured out who we were talking to and what we were trying to say, the use of graphics helped amplify our message. We were never limited by where the graphics were going to go, because 3M has a material that can convey our message, regardless of the substrate, the weather conditions, the foot traffic and … just maybe, an errant golf shot.
Put our graphic films to the test. We’re happy to send you samples so you can get a feel for features such as slideability, tack and snap-up.
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