Think Milan is an ordinary business city in northern Italy? Or a fashion lover's dream? Or maybe just a stop along the way to pick up some decent risotto? Think again. Milan was stirring with inspiration recently for Design Week, and 3M Design was there to illuminate creativity in all its urban vibrancy.
Our design team collaborated with architect Stefano Boeri Architetti to create an installation, Urban Tree Lounge. The goal was not only to elevate awareness of the design function at 3M, but also to show an international, creative community of thought leaders, designers and industry influencers what’s possible in the world of design when working with 3M.
With thousands of 3M products, materials and combinations of technologies, opportunities for creative talent to collaborate are limitless. This was a chance to share, inspire and engage at the opportune junction of location, context and audience.
Perspective on “audience,” however, is evolving. Customers are no longer in the audience watching the show; they’re on the stage. As companies strive to differentiate themselves, we hear more and more about “brand experience,” a relational approach that involves customers as partners to realize touchpoints of our brand in ways that are meaningful and relevant. Rather than look and consider, we want them to explore and discover. When done right, brand activations like this intertwine the medium and the message.
For 3M Design at Milan Design Week, it was about collaborative creativity. Our Milan design team worked closely with our architect partner to create an experience where 3M materials (nonwovens, films, adhesives, etc.) were brought to life, inviting visitors to engage in a creative environment of kaleidoscopic reflection. The idea was to translate this physical experience into an emotional one as well (a tenet of design thinking), where guests could explore how design inspires their lives and share their experiences with design on social media.
One of the many strengths of 3M lies in its brand story … not just in the what we do and who we are pieces, but also the how and why. This event was an opportunity to share a values-driven 3M Design story incorporating thoughtful solutions in support of sustainability. To bring the story forward, we drove integrated communications across traditional and social media via multiple networks and outlets.
When you’re in a communications role where part of your job is to help bring the brand to life – to unlock insight into the power of possibility embedded in a critical function like Design – it makes for a pretty exciting job. I’m fortunate to tackle such challenges at an enterprise as diversified as 3M, where you do far more than dip your toe in the pool of professional development. You swim hard.
As a communications professional, I’ve worked in multiple arenas, from integrated marketing communications for product launches to executive thought leadership to multimedia brand-building programs. With my current position focused on the power of Design at global company that thinks differently and embraces customer challenges head-on with passion, curiosity and creativity, only one word comes to mind: opportunity.