Deborah Block
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10+ years of content marketing experience

“3M is a daily part of your life and you may not even know it. In fact, you’re never more than 10  feet away from 3M technology,” said Kyle Thompson, the Manager of Employment Brand Communications at 3M.

Based in Minnesota, 3M makes products for business and consumers across industries like healthcare, consumer goods, food safety, home improvement, energy and more. Their products include things like medical dressings that help patients heal faster, reflective materials to ensure safety on the roadways or stethoscopes that work in space.

As a company, 3M is steadfast in their belief that science can change the world and they’re committed to improving lives through innovation and action. 

Producing materials that touch many industries and individuals, we wanted to learn more about the culture at 3M — and how a gender diverse workplace is critical to building an organization that is committed to helping others.

We spoke with Thompson to hear about how 3M’s partnership with Fairygodboss has helped establish their company as a great place for women to work and appeal to female job seekers more broadly.

Sharing powerful stories — but reaching the same audience.

When Thompson arrived at 3M close to three years ago, the goal was to reach female job seekers by building awareness around their employer brand through great storytelling and strategic paid media.

At the time, there was also a real cultural shift growing to help advance, listen to and support women. That’s when Thompson made the strategic decision to help raise the voices of women at 3M and tell the stories of those working particularly in less gender diverse fields like STEM.  

“My goal was to bring together women in STEM who were just starting out in their careers at 3M with those women who had been there for decades,” said Thompson, who often turned to Employee Resource groups like the Women’s Leadership Network for women to feature.

The team was able to turn these dialogues between newer female employees in STEM and more tenured employees into great stories that helped elevate 3M as a great place for women to work. The challenge, however, was that they were still speaking to the same audience and needed a new avenue to reach female talent.

Reaching a new, qualified audience of women through Fairygodboss. 

Today, 3M’s leadership and innovation across industries may be well known in the Minnesota area, but outside of it they are primarily associated with only a few products: Scotch tape, Post-It Notes and Command Strips.  “In addition to our consumer-facing products, we do so much on the business-to-business side, but the awareness as an employer is lower than we’d like,” said Thompson. That’s why their team turned to Fairygodboss. 

Today, Fairygodboss has been instrumental in helping 3M reach female talent. 

“Fairygodboss has been critical in helping us reach audiences outside of our regional area where we have a high level of brand awareness,” Thompson said. “Our custom content partnership has helped us connect with a highly engaged female audience who may have had no idea what a great place 3M is for women to work.”

Elevating the 3M employer brand through custom content.

“One of the best parts of our partnership with Fairygodboss is the custom articles we’re able to share throughout the year with their large audience of female job seekers,” Thompson said.  

“Our investment in Fairygodboss has been on an awareness level and we’ve had great success in growing this awareness for a new audience of women.”

Since becoming a partner, 3M has worked with the Fairygodboss team to put their female role models front and center -- including focusing on working moms and their company’s female leaders

“Because storytelling is at the core of what my team does, we’ve been very successful at developing narratives that will not only reflect our brand, but also resonate with the Fairygodboss audience,” Thompson said. 

One story for the Fairygodboss audience that really took off featured Alison Heebsh, a Quality Specialist in the Automotive and Aerospace Solutions division. The story, Why My Transition From Male to Female Was a Non-Issue at Work, described the support she received at 3M while transitioning genders. 

The article received close to 3,000 views on Fairygodboss and the sentiment around the feature that Thompson received was overwhelmingly positive. “I was proud that as a brand, we were able to tell Alison’s story,” he said.

Thompson believes that the Fairygodboss community is a safe space where important stories like Alison’s can be heard. “We’re able to use Fairygodboss to lean into this conversation a bit more and that’s awesome,” he said.

Working with the Fairygodboss team has also given Thompson the confidence to better align 3M’s own content with important cultural conversations happening today. “The stories we tell on Fairygodboss can be great indicators that we’re onto something and we’ve even started featuring these stories on our own website and social media platforms,” he said. 

Today, Thompson loves the excitement that comes with partnering with a company like Fairygodboss that is constantly innovating.  “We have such great access to the leaders at Fairygodboss and feel like we can really help shape the future of the company with our input,” he said. “It’s clear that Fairygodboss is invested in helping companies like ours connect with more female talent and we’re excited to be a part of that.”

3M: By Numbers on Fairygodboss*

*Data timeframe: 2019