A Brand is a Symbol of Quality and Trust
A brand is a symbol of quality and trust. It can increase consumer loyalty, lower risk and allow companies to charge premium prices. 3M is a global conglomerate that uses multiple divisions to provide innovative products and solutions in various industries.
The company was founded in 1902 as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. It soon grew to include the production of unique products such as wet-dry waterproof sandpaper, and adhesive cellophane tape.
Founded in 1902
The company’s early years in the red taught it a key lesson: innovate or die. This ethos has been at the core of 3M for more than 100 years. A culture of innovation, diversification, and strategic expansion have allowed the company to stay competitive over the long run.
The original Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company was founded in 1902 in Two Harbors, MN to mine corundum, a hard crystallized mineral, for use in grinding wheels. After a few years in the mining business, the company began to diversify. Its first major diversification was into abrasives, which it developed by using the corundum to produce waterproof sandpaper.
From there, the company expanded into a variety of industrial products such as adhesive cellophane tape, masking tape, and desktop photocopiers. In the 1950s, the company diversified further into consumer products like Scotch tape and the Post-It Note. 3M also branched into military and medical products, including surgical drapes, and the audio-visual business.
In the 1960s, the company experimented with a logo that featured a solid, bold “3M” inscription in a serif font. While this design did not stick, the classic version of the 3M logo that was introduced in 1948 has remained the company’s emblem to this day. In the 1980s, 3M President Lewis Lehr reorganized the company into several divisions to improve its R&D efficiency. He created the 15 percent program, which allows employees to spend a small amount of their time “chasing rainbows” and hatching ideas. He also established a requirement that at least 25 percent of the revenue in each division be from new products.
Headquartered in Two Harbors, Minnesota
John Dwan, a Two Harbors attorney, drew up incorporation papers for the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company in 1902. The new partners were mining corundum on Lake Superior’s north shore to be sold as an abrasive. A series of serious blunders nearly bankrupted the company, but financial support from Lucius Pond Ordway and a move to Saint Paul allowed it to weather the depression and boom years. The company made its first profit in 1916, when the Three-M-ite abrasive cloth was introduced. Its diversified product line, avoiding price cuts, and emphasis on quality control helped it grow into a major international corporation.
3M’s history of overcoming obstacles offers a powerful lesson for today’s entrepreneurs. The fortitude of the founders to withstand near disaster accounts in part for their unabashed “can-do” attitude that now has them marketing 50,000 products worldwide.
In 1981, Lewis Lehr took the helm of the company and began to turn what he saw as a slightly ossified manufacturing giant into a nimble growth machine. He restructured the research and development operation from six divisions to four (Industrial and Consumer, Electronics and Information Technologies, Graphic and Imaging Technology, and Life Sciences), and created a goal that 25 percent of each division’s earnings should come from a product that didn’t exist five years ago.
3M is one of the most diversified industrial conglomerates in the United States, and its revenues are among the highest in the world. The company manufactures a variety of products for various industries, including electronics, energy, health care, and automotive. It is well known for its scotch tape, post-it notes, scotch-brite scrub sponges, and many other products.
The 3M logo has been through many changes over the years, but it remains a bold and striking symbol that symbolizes power and stability. It is the result of the company’s constant experimentation with different ways to convey its values and vision to its consumers.
Revenues are an important metric when analyzing a stock, and this is especially true for 3M, which has 26 business lines that it divides into five segments. To better understand how each of these segments contributes to 3M’s revenues, investors can use Trefis’ interactive dashboard.
This chart demonstrates how 3M’s Revenue by Segment has changed over time. In addition, the graph includes a comparison to the industry average. 3M regularly announces material financial, business and operational information through its investor relations website, SEC filings, press releases, public conference calls and webcasts, as well as its news center. It also posts this information on social media sites.