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General Guidelines

By working with other leading companies to develop and market innovative products and services, we can both reduce costs, extend market reach and increase revenue streams. For both parties to benefit, it is important that the customer understands the relationship between 3M and approved converters, dealers, distributors, manufacturer's reps, fabricators, converters, retailers and suppliers. This section offers standards to help these companies leverage and protect the value of the 3M brand.


Using the 3M Logo

The 3M logo is a key element of our brand identity. Its consistent usage enhances marketplace recognition. Refer to the 3M Logo Standards (link) of this site for more information. Contact the 3M Corporate Identity and Design department if you have questions about using the 3M logo.

Third party affiliates should avoid the following:

  • Do not re-create the 3M logo from type.
  • Do not show the 3M logo in any color other than 3M Red or black. Never reverse to white.
  • Do not use the 3M logo in a way that implies that 3M is a part of your firm or that you are part of 3M.
  • Do not list your company under the name 3M or a 3M product name unless your 3M contact has authorized you to do so. 
  • The 3M logo may not be used to visually imply that you sell all of 3M's products.
Incorrect Logo Usage

The examples below demonstrate incorrect uses of the 3M logo.

Third-Party Communications Leveraging 3M


Protecting 3M Trademarks

Using 3M trademarks correctly protects their value. Every time you mention a 3M product in your communications, use its full and accurate legal trademarked name.

The purpose of a trademark is to identify products and distinguish them from those manufactured and sold by others. The only way to be sure a trademark is legally protected is to use it properly and consistently in all communications in exactly the way it was registered.

  • When trademarks appear in print, they must be distinguished from other words and identified as a trademark.
  • A trademark must always be used as a proper adjective, and must be followed by a generic descriptor that ends in a noun that is pertinent and approved for the trademark.
  • Model or product numbers should follow the generic descriptor.
  • The ™ symbol is used to indicate the end of a trademark. This mark applies to all 3M brands except for Post-it brand and Scotch brand.
  • Begin each product name with 3M™ (except for these 3M brands: O-Cel-O™, Post-it®, Scotch®, Scotch-Brite® and Thinsulate™ ). For specific information on any of these brands, speak to your 3M contact.
  • Never use the ™ or ® symbol with the 3M logo.
  • If you can't set the trademark symbols (™ or ® in USA; outside USA, check with your 3M contact) in superscript, use parentheses, as in 3M(TM).
  • If you're unsure about how to use a trademark correctly, ask your 3M contact for further information.
  • More information can be found in the Trademark Protection section of this Web site.

Managing the Relationship

Actively managing relationships with authorized third parties is key to mutual success.

Find out what is needed

Typically, a third party affiliate will contact 3M with a request for assistance in communicating their 3M relationship. Calls and inquiries to 3M general offices usually are referred to Corporate Identity and Design Department.
The Identity and Design team member must pass the request along to the business that manages the product or product family. Once the business has determined the appropriateness of the request, Identity and Design can assist both the business and the third party with tools and recommendations.

Confirm third party status

Once the 3M business learns of the third party request, the authorized status of the third party must be confirmed. Legal agreements and the exact nature of the relationship should be clear.
Then a proof-of-purchase check through billing and accounting should be conducted. This will confirm that the third party really is distributing, applying or otherwise buying 3M products.

Don’t provide the logo without a license

The 3M logo may not be used by a third party without a trademark license. Existing official distributor agreements include a trademark license. However, if the affiliation is not via a distributor agreement, a simple, standard trademark license needs to be established.

Contact your legal representative for the right documents and advice.

Monitor their messages

The 3M business must monitor the communications created by the third party that mention the 3M relationship.

Make sure that their message is accurate, correctly expresses their affiliation with 3M, and is consistent with the licensing agreement.

Be aware of language used in marketing materials that may confuse the reader. For example, all such communications should avoid the word “partner,” since this has legal connotations that are broader than most third party affiliations.