January 19/26, 2015; Volume 28/Number 15
By Ken Ryan
The Scotchgard brand name and its distinguished tartan plaid logo have forged a brand identity for nearly 60 years, all in the process of becoming one of the most recognized names in consumer products.
In flooring, 3M has positioned its Scotchgard Protector as the strong, steady brand that protects carpet and other products from stain and soil. While the brand equity remains strong and consistent, the company has continued to invest in R&D in order to keep product performance state of the art. Today it provides treatments for various fiber types, including polyester, nylon, blends and polypropylene for several major mills, including Mohawk, Beaulieu, Godfrey Hirst, Royalty Carpets, Lexmark and Cherokee.
“What we [represent] is added value,” said Jim Stevens, global sales manager, 3M Protective Materials, Home Care division. “We work with the mills to apply the right product to the right carpet. As they make changes, we make changes. The outcome is always positive from a performance standpoint.”
3M has been in partnership with Mohawk for years with its Scotchgard Protector Advanced Repel technology featured in carpets such as Wear-Dated Embrace nylon in addition to hard surface products. According to a Mohawk survey, the majority of respondents chose Wear-Dated with Scotchgard Protector Advanced Repel technology as the brand of choice. “The product has changed [a few times] over the last five years but we haven’t changed the brand positioning,” Stevens said. “We are trying to keep it simple.”
The message from the Scotchgard Protector brand conveys that it is the leader in soil and stain protection. “This allows easy communication of what the protection is and does, and builds immediate trust and confidence so retail salespeople don’t have to spend time explaining the unknown to their customers,” Stevens explained. “Instead they can focus on the product’s look, feel or design—and why they should be buying from their store.”
The breadth and depth of Scotchgard products extends beyond carpet to include Mohawk wood, Congoleum vinyl, Bissell (the leading DIY carpet cleaner), cleaning formulas, professional cleaners and commercial floor maintenance products.
Stevens said consumers have a comfort level with Scotchgard because it is backed by a trustworthy company and brand. “Then they can move onto the important part, which is the overall style and the design of the carpet [or other products].”
The original formula for Scotchgard was discovered by accident in 1952 by 3M chemists Patsy Sherman and Samuel Smith. Sales began in 1956, and in 1973 the two chemists received a patent for the formula.
As fabrics have changed over the years, so did the needs of customers. In response, 3M scientists continually look to innovate by introducing more environmentally friendly formulas that protect against dirt and stains, and have the ability to repel liquids.
“Our goal is to always be state of the art relative to performance,” Stevens said. “Otherwise, we lose that brand position. The goal is to have new products each year, but that doesn’t happen easily.”
3M recently added an 800 number (800.433.3296) to provide customers easy access to warranty and carpet care service. According to Stevens, 3M is one of the few companies that still has live customer service representatives.
“And they have knowledge, years of experience, know the various warranties and can offer guidance, including access to over 1,400 certified cleaners.”