Telling the emotional story of the cold
For nearly 40 years, 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation has stood for technical protection from the cold. But as the category matured, new competition entered the arena — making differentiation difficult. In 2014 the brand turned to Zeus Jones to rearchitect and redesign their brand amongst both partners and consumers.
Our relationship with Zeus Jones began with a project for a retailer based in Great Britain. Specifically, this retailer asked for some ideas around a partnership that highlighted Thinsulate™ Insulation within their clothing. We had never done this type of work before and realized we needed help.
We asked Zeus to concept how our brands could work together to inspire the retailer — covering everything from cobranded hangtags to website to social activations to in-store merchandising, etc. All of the ideas were received extremely well — and it really energized the team that presented them.
But the really cool thing was the thinking that Zeus brought to the table and how it challenged what we thought the Thinsulate™ brand actually stood for.
Internally, we had limited our communications to a hangtag and word mark but the work from Zeus Jones showed that the Thinsulate™ brand is much, much bigger and could actually stand for something besides technical specs. It really started the ball rolling as far as new ways to communicate and share our brand.
It was also interesting to see an approach that went outside of just communicating technical and scientific values and specs. There was a huge emotional component to the work and we brought that value all the way to the consumer forefront. It became a proof point — and we knew we could take this story to so many places.
In fact, we took that proof point all the way through to our product architecture and, with Zeus Jones, redesigned it to bring these emotional elements to the surface.
“Now the tags come across as a story about our brand versus getting lost in the clutter.”
Simultaneously we also went to the Burton US Open. We weren’t quite done with the hangtags yet and were still working on articulating what our brand stood for but we decided to use the event as a test.
People were really responsive. We were engaging them in a conversation that was much different from what we had done in the past. Suddenly, we were hearing a lot of comments about how welcoming the brand felt. People just connected with us on an emotional level for the first time.
The Burton Open is a major event, so we were excited to be able to go there to test the reimagined brand and design approach. Our team was a little nervous as we were shifting from telling a technical story to an emotional one.
After the Burton Open, people were like, “Awesome, I feel good about this. It can work!”
From there, it’s really taken off. We’ve received lots of positive responses from customers across segments and continents. And we’re currently working on our second year of collaboration with Carhartt. Plus, brands like Rossignol have taken our new brand assets and applied them to their marketing communications and activities.
Discovering who we are as a brand has given us really great momentum, and the work we’ve done with Zeus has made our efforts even stronger.