Analysis of 3m Command

Last Updated: 09 Feb 2023
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Executive Summary 3M Singapore controls many market leading brands in their various markets, such as Post-It, Scotch Tapes, Scotch-Brite and Command. In this report, we will be focusing on the brand – Command. We aim to address the problem of the erosion of Command’s competitive advantage in its increasingly competitive industry by providing improved/new BTL strategies which Command can undertake. Based on our survey, there are 2 interesting findings which we aim to tackle through our recommendations.

The first of which is that consumers could not differentiate Command from 3M. In other words, they viewed Command’s products as “3M hooks” rather than “Command hooks”. This could lead to a brand dilution of 3M in the long run which is not ideal. The next is that Command’s value proposition of easy and clean removal is not fully understood by consumers. To aid Command in targeting its consumers effectively so as to anchor its footing as the market leader, we aim to address the problem and the misconceptions consumers have.

We first investigated the factors behind motivating consumers’ consumption for products in the DIY-Mounting and Fastening Industry, followed by an analysis of the effectiveness of its current BTL strategies. From our results and findings, we have divided Command’s consumers into 2 main groups: “The Innovalist” – Creative individuals who are motivated to purchase based on aesthetics appeal, and “The Functionalist” – Individuals who are more concerned with durability than other factors. All in all, we aim to help Command differentiate itself from its competitors so as to anchor its position as the market leader.

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Command, one of the brands under 3M’s consumer and office business segment, positions itself as an innovative solution for consumers’ mounting and fastening needs and the gateway through which they are able to transform their space quickly and easily.

It has successfully carved a credible name for itself by being true to its brand promise of delivering damage-free, strong hanging solutions which can be removed cleanly and also as an innovative brand through the development of its USP: Stretch Release Technology (USPT).

Market description Command is in the mounting and fastening industry. Its target audience is aged 25-45, with a monthly household income above S$4000. The age group comprises of young adults who would most likely be working in their first job and adults who have reached certain milestones in their careers.

Command has a wide range of products under its line, ranging from the general hooks of different sizes to various types of organization products to bathroom accessories. Although products are priced at a premium, it offers consumers damage-free, strong hanging solutions which can be removed cleanly. The main differentiating factor lies in Command Adhesive the revolutionary USPT that combines a reusable hook with removable, water-resistant adhesive that comes completely off with the pull of a tab and does no damage to the surface in the process.

With the rapid advancements in technology, the cost of technology is decreasing steadily, lowering the cost of entry into the industry. Hence, Command face increasingly level of competition from less established brands such as Shunmei, Magic Mounts and LEC which positions itself as cheaper alternatives of Command products. These competitors offer consumers products similar to Command- able removes cleanly and easily-.

Their imitations of Command’s USPT and competitive pricing strategies have been eroding Command’s competitive advantage; compromising Command’s standing as the market leader.

Issues With the new entrants and less established competitors competing head-on with Command’s core competency-positioning themselves the in a similar way as Command but charging at a lower price-, it will erode Command’s competitive advantage and possibly alter consumer’s perception of Command.

To ensure Command’s continued success and position as the market leader, it is crucial to discover consumers’ motivation in purchasing wall mounting and fastening products. We would thus assess the issues and the potential problem which threatens Command’s legacy in the industry, and tailored a marketing plan that consists of a range of innovative recommendations to aid Command in differentiating itself and to achieve its 3 goals of informing, raising awareness and increasing adoption rate by its target group. We start by investigating the factors that motivate consumers to purchase wall mounting and fastening products.

Then, we analyse the effectiveness of Command’s current below-the-line (BTL) strategies, propose changes and recommend new BTL strategies so that we can better target the consumers. These efforts are aimed to help Command secure its position as the market leader, making it consumers’ preferred choice and proclaiming that “Command is different, Command is better”.

A combination of primary and secondary research is undertaken to understand consumers’ motivation behind purchasing wall mounting and fastening products and assessing the effectiveness of Command’s current BTL strategies.

Our primary research consists of three parts. Firstly, a survey designed to help us understand the consumers and the factors that motivate or influence them to purchase wall mounting and fastening products. This survey is aimed at Command’s target segment of consumers. The survey is conducted via the online platform to 100 consumers using Google docs, an online tool that enables collecting and analyzing data. Secondly, in-store observations of consumers purchasing wall mounting and fastening products is used to substantiate the analysis derived from our survey.

The observation last between 30 minutes to 1 hour and took place in three different locations: the central and the heartland. We use a common set of questions to guide us when we are doing these observations, helping us to better understand the processes that consumers go through and identify the motivation consumers have when making their purchase decision. The effectiveness of current BTL strategies can be inferred through observing the influence it has on consumers’ purchase behaviour. Lastly, we did a focused group interview with 2 different groups of consumers; both are couples in the mid 20s.

Pair A was a couple who works as an architect and a banker, while Pair B was a couple who are an engineer and an accountant. Our secondary research includes industry reports and literature reviews to assist us in generating a marketing plan tailored to Command’s needs. Literature reviews help us to see how current BTL strategies can be improved for it to become more effective. The industry reports will provide us with a better understanding of the recent market conditions and the competitive outlook.

Based on our survey results, we identified that consumers are unable to relate Command’s main characteristics to the Command brand. Only 7% thought of Command when “adhesive strips” and “removes cleanly” were used to describe a particular brand of hook. A significant percentage (76%) of the respondents felt that the description was on 3M. This shows that consumers are not able to differentiate between 3M and the Command brand. In fact, more than half of this 76% answered that they have never heard of Command.

While this shows that 3M has been successful in establishing its credibility in the mounting and fastening market, this situation is not ideal. If there are negative reviews on any of 3M’s Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) brands, the sales of Command would be affected as well. A good example of successful differentiation would be that of 3M Post-It. Consumers see the brand name as “Post-It” by 3M not “3M stickers”. From our observations done at DIY stores in Singapore, we have also found out that Command shelves are not sufficiently strategically placed to capture consumers’ attention.

Command hooks are not the first hooks that consumers see when they step into the store. This is a problem as consumers tend to be more experimental towards low-involvement product, switching between brands, as the costs and risks involved are low. 4. 2 Opportunities From our analysis, we will explore the opportunities Command can tap into. Also, we will attempt to better characterize the characteristics of the 2 groups in order to target them more effectively in our recommendations.

Hooks are low-involvement function-based product; people are only motivated to purchase them when there is a need to. Hence, in order to increase usage of Command products, Command would have to introduce to consumers the various ways one can do with hooks, creating a perceived need in consumers to purchase hooks. Non-users of hooks have the misconception that hooks in general would leave stains when removed. When targeting the non-users of hooks, Command would need to address their concerns about hooks leaving ugly stains on the wall or peals the paint off.

This shows that convenience is the main attribute consumers consider when they purchase adhesive removable hooks. However, the ideal attributes consumers have in mind for hooks in general are durability and the design of the hooks- both the aesthetic aspect and the shape of the hooks-. This indicates that there is a misalignment between consumer’s ideal hook and that marketed by Command. Command could focus on promoting its hooks based on the top 2 attributes consumer’s go for when purchasing hooks, thus positioning itself as consumer’s ideal hook.

From the above graph, we identified that most people use hooks in bathrooms and kitchens. Command has focus on conveying to consumers the use of its products in these areas, and it’s substantiated by the display seen in HomeFix at Marina Square elaborated on later. From the graph, a significant number of respondents use hooks in the living room. Command could explore how it can further encourage the greater use of hooks in this area to increase household penetration of its products. Command could also explore the idea of bundling Command hooks with the successful 3M “Post-It’s” to reach out to office users.

In summary, the misconceptions consumers have towards mounting and fastening needs can be translated into problems to address or opportunities for Command to tap into.

There are 2 main attributes- design and durability- which consumers look for in their ideal hook and this play a role in motivating their purchase of hooks. Hence, we would divide consumers into 2 main groups: Innovalist and Functionalist.

Innovalist: Consumers who are looking for design and creativity when they purchase products. They desire to be different from the rest.

They tend to go for products that stand out and they are willing to try new things. This group of consumers will tend to be more price inelastic. Functionalist: Consumers who are concerned about functionality when they purchase products. They are not concerned about design, but more on durability of hooks. For them, hooks are mainly used to hang things and do not serve any other purpose. This group of consumers will tend to be more price elastic.

BTL strategies serve to complement the above-the-line (ATL) strategies used by Command. BTL strategies are designed to target more specifically to the target audience and to get consumers to purchase our product. The BTL strategies play a significantly crucial role in differentiating Command from others. From our primary research, the results obtained shed light on the effectiveness of Command’s current BTL strategies.

This chart shows that Command’s in store advertising is effective, as 74% respondents know about Command through newspapers, magazine and whilst shopping. However, this is not a significant number and more can be done to increase the impact BTL strategies have on the target group.

This chart shows that Command’s in store advertising is effective, as 74% respondents know about Command through newspapers, magazine and whilst shopping. However, this is not a significant number and more can be done to increase the impact BTL strategies have on the target group. Non-users of hooks are less aware of Command compared to users of hooks. This shows that Command is one of the top brands associated with hooks, but more can be done to increase non-user’s awareness of Command hooks; to establish their presence in non-user’s evoked set.

Non-users of hooks are less aware of Command compared to users of hooks. This shows that Command is one of the top brands associated with hooks, but more can be done to increase non-user’s awareness of Command hooks; to establish their presence in non-user’s evoked set.

For majority of the DIY stores patronized, Command products have a whole shelf space dedicated to it and could easily be distinguished from the rest of the brands. This offers Command a certain level of publicity when shoppers are in the store.

When Command products are placed together as a whole it is very striking and distinguishable, attracting shoppers’ attention easily. At the other stores including DIY stores, Command products are placed at the left column, hence may not attract much of consumers’ attention in comparison to products place in the center column.

It is observed that a more interactive advertising was used in HomeFix at Marina Square – display of a glass cabinet which illustrates how of Command bathroom accessories can be used in the bathroom- .

This cabinet is effective as it is prominent, interactive and engaging, teasing consumer out of their boundaries when purchasing a low-involvement product. Shoppers’ attention is attracted and they are more inclined to go closer to the display. Furthermore, it acts as a visual aid, creating imagery in shopper’s mind. Shoppers are encouraged to visualize themselves using Command products at home, leading to them forming a positive bias, as they can clearly picture how Command products can play a part in their life.

When they anticipated satisfaction in using the products, the vivid imagery they had earlier would sway consumers’ in their formation of preference, influencing their purchase decision. During our primary research, we were not able to find many local print advertisements solely on Command. We managed to find an image of 3M’s advertisement on the front page of a “Today” newspaper and another advertisement, which had “3M” in huge font, while “Command” was just a small logo in the bottom right corner.

In consistencies in advertisements like these have led to consumers’ confusion and the inability to differentiate between Command hooks and ‘3M hooks’. Our recommendation would be based on overseas print advertisements by Command and the advertisements we found on 3M and Command.

We did not notice any promoters when we conduct our primary research. Based on our secondary research, we found pictures of Command promoters. The promoters did not have a noticeable dress code which allows them to be easily identified in the store. Promoters play an important role in creating public interest and increase product demand. They are the source of information shoppers can turn to when in doubt, helping in shopper’s decision making process. We are not able to analyze this aspect of BTL in depth due to the lack of primary research available.

POSM The use of the well known local celebrity Bryan Wong has been effective in reaching out to consumers and possibly encouraging them to be more innovative in the area of home decor. This is can be attributed to his influence in the well-received programme, the “Home Decor Survivor”, which he has co-host for the past 4 seasons.

He is known for his creativity and knack for being innovative. His good reputation, and the high level of reliability and credibility he established throughout the seasons, was a convincing factor for consumers who trust his advice and choice. Furthermore, the use of his pictures on Command in-store advertisements has influenced consumers and serves to remind them that Command products are the best in the market.

These recommendations are specifically designed to target the 2 categories of consumers we have identified earlier.

Using the insight gained from our results and findings about the gist of the associative networks- the linkages between the various concepts- consumers have, our recommendations are proposed with the aim to form the linkages which we want consumers to have when Command comes to mind. We propose 3 different BTL strategies that Command can focus on to inform, raise awareness and increase adoption rate.

Initiative Command should use words or attributes which Functionalists look out for in their purchases and include it in their in-store advertisements in order to capture their attention and spur them to purchase. Furthermore, Command can explore using the temporary displays more efficiently, by strategically placing them in a manner that would attract the most attention from shoppers. Also, the design of posters found at the top of the temporary shelves can be change as consumers are currently unable to associate them with Command when they view the posters from afar.

We propose that Command expand their shelf space, especially utilizing the eye level ranks and to craft and place its temporary shelves strategically within the space constraints faced in stores, in order to enhance its visual appeal and brand recognition among its consumers.

“Come and organize! ” contest Participants will be given a range of common household items (umbrella, keys, towel etc) and Command hooks. They will be tasked to organize all these using Command hooks within 5 minutes, during that time; they are allowed to make changes to the position of the hooks.

Viewers will vote for the most creative organizer who will walk away with a mini Command hamper (3 sets of different types of Command hooks). This activity aims to instill in consumers how they can use Command’s hooks and to demonstrate and justify Command’s claim that its hooks can be removed easily and cleanly.

“Sketch your idea! ” contest Participants are invited to sketch a creative design of a hook and these designs will be updated on Command’s website and the voting period would last 1 week following the road show.

Voting would be done online and the top 10 winners will receive a Command hamper (a full range of Command hooks). This allow Command to understand what the Innovalists want in terms of the aesthetics of hooks which could be a stepping stone for Command to create hooks with new designs. More elaboration is under Future Plans.

Live advertisement Command can use the many glass casings along the walkway of CityLink and hire models to stay in the glass casings and act out their lifestyle through using hooks.

For example, the actor dresses up as a student and mounts Command’s hooks on the wall, hangs an item, removes the hook and places it at another spot etc. Command can have 3 sets of actors and act out household, office, bathroom scenes which demonstrate how the different types of product can be used in each setting. This would be attention grabbing and interactive, serving to tease consumers about their traditional notion of a road show and at the same time enable them to form a vivid image of how the various Command products can be used conventionally and creatively, creating the perceived need in consumers to purchase hooks.

This road show project is effective as it can:

  1. boost product and brand recognition by 15 times compared to other forms of advertising
  2. achieves a 97% recall rate.

“Is this your room? Start Living! ” or “Tidy Room, Long Living” We propose that Command explore the use of more glass/clear display cabinets similar to that found in HomeFix at Marina Square, bringing the living room environment into the store and showing shoppers how the hooks can be used in the living room.

The display would be located in a variety of places, from DIY stores to supermarkets in order to cater to the different consumer profiles who patronize the stores. This would be an effective way to influence shoppers unconsciously and introduce to them how the various Command products can play an important part in the various areas of their homes. The use of the tagline would differ depending on which target consumers Command is targeting.

The tagline “Is this your room? Start Living! ” is for Innovalists while “Tidy Room, Long Living” is for Functionalist.

The design of the living room in the display cabinet would be simple, one that encapsulates the essence of a living room. The proposed layout of the display is attached in the appendices.

“Visuality Is Key”: instead of using the conventional style of being information oriented, Command should create ads that are more visually appealing by replacing words with graphics. In addition, the choice of words used is critical in distinguishing Command from competitors’ ads. The ads should be structured in a manner that caters to the preferences of our 2 categories of consumers.

Specifically words or phrases like “durable” and “ability to hold a certain weight” appeals to Functionalists. Innovalist would be attracted to products which appeals to their creativity. Thus, phrases such as “infinite possibilities” and “anything; anywhere” appeals to them. Furthermore, the size of the ads should be larger than the current ones and have a high frequency of repetition, for this would increase the level of positive attitude to the brand and the purchase intention (Chanthika Pornpitakpan 2004). However, in order to achieve effectiveness, Command has to vary the ads in order to reinforce its position in consumers’ memory.

To anchor its position as the preferred choice, Command needs to continue developing new innovative products and convey it to consumers in creative means. For the future, we propose that Command introduce its current line of adhesive hooks in an innovative way – having varied shapes and designs and occasion specific designs-. Examples of the shapes Command can explore are shown in the pictures below. Doing so would further differentiate Command from its competitors and boosts its innovative brand image; it also helps to transform the need of buying hooks to a want to buy hooks.

The risk could be limited by organizing less road show during the monsoon seasons. In print ads, we are not able to control the environment under which consumers view it. While we may have an advertisement on Command, depending on how they peruse the magazine or medium, readers may not be exposed to the ad. Hence, Command might not be able to control the frequency at which one is exposed to its ads. Therefore, print ads will be a long-term rather than a short-term strategy. Command must ensure that they do not waste resources by having aggressive ad campaigns, but stick to an ad every 1-2 months as stated in our recommendation.


  1. Chanthika Pornpitakpan (2004), “Cross-cultural Differences in the effect of Ad Repetition and Ad Size: Experiments with Americans, Germans and Singaporeans” Journal of Euromarketing 13(2/3), 49-83
  2. Company info: http://www. wikinvest. com/stock/3M_Company_(MMM)
  3. Creative hook designs: http://wildammo. com/2009/08/07/crazy-and-creative-wall-hooks/; http://freshome. com/2010/05/11/25-of-the-most-creative-wall-hook-designs/ 4. Eric T. Bradlow, J. Wesley Hutchinson, Pierre Chandon & Scott H. Young (2009), “Does in-store marketing work?
  4. Effects of the number and position of shelf facings on brand attention and evaluation at the point of purchase”, Journal of Marketing, 73, 1-17 5. JULIE A. EDELL and RICHARD STAELIN (1983),
  5. “The Information Processing of Pictures in Print Advertisements”, JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, 10, 45-61 6. Kuus Oberecker, Lea M. Wakolbinger and Michaela Denk (2009)
  6. “The Effectiveness of Combining Online and Print Advertisements Is the Whole Better than the Individual Parts? ”, Journal of Advertising Research, 360-372 7. LEC : http://www. lecinc. co. jp/english/pr/index. tml 8. Magic Mounts : http://www. magicmounts. com/page4. htm
  7. Roadshow Information: http://www. roadshowadvertising. com


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Analysis of 3m Command. (2018, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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