3M® Sandpaper



  • 3M dominates the category in the U.S. and internationally in select markets.
  • Consumers know little about different types of sandpaper.
  • Consumers select sandpaper by using their thumbs to identify the appropriate grit.
  • 3M wants their enormous sandpaper line to have a Sub-Brand identity of its own.
  • 3M had developed significant product technology improvements that take the sanding performance to a new level.
  • 3M wanted to segment its 100+ sanding products into consumer based work tasks.

sellingpropositionTHE GOLD MINING SESSION

  • Gold Mining was led by Keith Chambers at 3M in Minneapolis with the brand team. The Chambers creative team was on the phone in Los Angeles.
  • It was decided to run two sessions in Los Angeles; one with do-it-yourselfers and the other with professionals. Both targets were to be included in the new position to be developed.
  • A series of possible “work task” related platforms were identified for use in developing stimulus for the Connectics™ sessions.
  • All category and historical information were provided by the brand team.


  • The Chambers Group presented the interim document for review and input by the 3M team.
  • Positioning Connectics™ exercises fall into two distinct categories: 1) stimulus options for the elements
  • being explored (Brand, Sub-Brand Generic Descriptor, Benefit, Attributes, etc.) and 2) Optimization exercises which are designed to indicate how to use the winning elements in each of the element exercises.
  • The interim document details the entire stimulus developed for each of the positioning elements. All stimuli was inspired by the platforms identified in the Gold Mining session and represents a creative range within which the target consumer participants can find the most powerful communication.
  • All of the optimization exercises to be used were identified.
  • The document was reviewed thoroughly and left with the brand team for additional input.



The first positioning Connectics™ was run with 24 do-it-yourselfers over a two and a half hour evening session.
The second positioning Connectics™ was run with 24 professionals over a two and a half hour evening session.
Both sessions were created broadly enough to cover both demographic profiles and contained identical  stimulus.
Progressive Connectics™ is essentially the element-by-element, assembly of a selling proposition, by target > consumers, in real time, on the face of your package.




The line was segmented into “Bare Surfaces”, “Paint Stripping” and “Between Coats”.
The Sub-Brand name Sandblaster was established and validated.
The benefit “Less Work” was considered most powerful and applied to all three segments and to both targets.
The Benefit is supported by two Attribute Drivers: “Cuts Three Times Faster” and “Lasts Three Times Longer”.
3M Sandblaster sandpaper was introduced to strong trade acceptance and was applied to over 100 products including the power tools line and was adapted to five foreign languages by The Chambers Group.
This project is considered one of the most important marketing efforts in recent 3M history. This work was accomplished under the direction of Gretchen Hauble, Director New Business Development.