Masters of Innovation: 3M’s Diverse Event App


3M is using Guidebook to make intuitive guides for all sorts of uses

Since 1902 3M has been creating the products that make our lives better. From Scotch tape to an electronic stethoscope that can wirelessly transmit data for analysis – they are truly “a global innovation company that never stops inventing.”

3M’s leadership wanted its business practices to continue to innovate along with its technology. Their relationship with Guidebook began when the CMO and VP responsible for customer events and sponsorships decided that it was time to “cut the binder” and start delivering content to customers in a contemporary manner.

3M became an early adopter of Guidebook’s technology, with a clear directive to meet people’s evolving expectations about content delivery and to reduce its use of paper.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

Initially 3M wanted mobile guides for their premier sponsorship events. The mission to ditch paper and meet people where they were – their mobile devices – guided the search for a platform that would allow them to do so.

Like most companies 3M recognized that what people are holding in their hands is a very powerful device, and after a rigorous industry analysis, 3M chose Guidebook to begin the process of creating a better way of engaging their customers. To them it was clear that, in the event app space, Guidebook was ahead of the pack.


The Power of the Guide

3M’s standalone app – branded as “3M Events” – made its debut at the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament, where they were hosting their ever-popular 3M Celebrity Challenge.

Two separate guides were created for the event within the app. A guide for 3M’s customers included relevant schedules, maps, and shuttle information. Another guide for the 3M hosts included all the details of the customer guide, but also listed additional logistical and customer information to improve the hosts’ hospitality acumen. It was a great first success with organizers calling it a “really big hit.”

A multitude of uses

From there, 3M found many uses for additional guides. The model created for the golf tournament was transferred to other premier customer events, as well as guides for leadership conferences, Board of Directors meetings, corporate employee recognition events, trade shows, R&D global events, sponsored innovation events, and even a public guide for 3M’s corporate headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Those lucky enough to visit 3M’s Innovation Center in St. Paul will soon be accompanied by a guide powered by Guidebook. At this living science lab, visitors can “explore in person the technologies behind 3M’s innovative culture.” The Innovation Center guide will give an overview of the facility, while also personally connecting the user to the impressive technology they’re experiencing.

3M is now in its third year of using Guidebook.

Features that work

Guidebook’s features align with a user experience that represents 3M’s brand – innovative, functional, fun and immediate. The ability to add photo albums, create multi-track schedules, and update content at a moment’s notice provides satisfying user and client experiences.

And at the heart of Guidebook is its intuitive content management system. Clients like 3M appreciate its usability, but also the ability to offer greater control over an event.

Anyone can use the CMS, but to 3M’s Guidebook users it’s more than a content management system. It’s a valuable tool that helps craft event experiences and communication on the fly.

Guidebook’s CMS has allowed 3M’s event organizers to shape nuanced and carefully-branded events. Thanks to its ability to immediately push changes to app users, they can make needed changes to their guides and communicate instantly with attendees – even while on the move with just an iPad in hand.

A lasting partnership

3M continues to expand the number of events taking advantage of mobile tech – event guides are now rolling out to the UK and other non-US events. But one of the most unique aspects of 3M’s partnership with Guidebook is the relationship itself. For years Guidebook and 3M’s lasting relationship has continued to grow according to 3M’s needs and Guidebook’s development. It is a partnership built on respect and nurtured by service.

3M was seeking a modern way to engage customers that would stay true to their brand and make the company proud to use. As a result, Guidebook has provided 3M a flexible engagement tool built on a productive, ever-evolving client relationship. Most importantly, Guidebook is providing 3M with a way to connect to people.