Marketing Your Least Popular Product: Lessons from Sherwin-Williams’ “Loneliest Color” Campaign

Photo Credit: Sherwin Williams

While the spotlight often falls on the hottest, most popular products, some gems can get lost in the shuffle. This was the case for Sherwin-Williams, a leading name in paints and coatings, with their “loneliest color,” Kingdom Gold.

Kingdom Gold, a warm and metallic hue, wasn’t inherently unattractive. However, its bold presence stood out amongst Sherwin-Williams’ usual offerings dominated by safe, neutral tones. This presented a unique challenge: how to market a vibrant color that wasn’t currently a top seller for them.

Instead of shying away from the problem, Sherwin-Williams came up with a campaign that not only revived Kingdom Gold but also offered valuable lessons for marketing any under-the-radar product.

Four people with colored outfits

Unexpected Partners: A Spark of Vibrancy

Sherwin-Williams recognized the key to Kingdom Gold’s success lay in changing its perception.  On its own, the color might have seemed too daring for a hesitant customer. However, by placing it in a carefully curated setting, they could showcase its true potential. The answer came in the form of an unexpected partnership – the world of fashion.

Sherwin-Williams took a bold step by partnering with fashion icon Dapper Dan. Dapper Dan wasn’t shy about showcasing Kingdom Gold’s full potential. He incorporated the color into a special collection that breathed new life into the color. But the story doesn’t end there. Sherwin-Williams also partnered with influencers in the art world. These collaborators used Kingdom Gold to create stunning murals, transforming blank walls into vibrant expressions of creativity. Additionally, they worked with individuals passionate about reviving vintage furniture, showcasing Kingdom Gold’s ability to reinvent old treasures.

The Takeaway: Seek out unexpected partners who can bring a fresh perspective to your product. Collaborations can tap into new audiences and highlight aspects of your product you might not have considered before.

Items for weaving on a surface

Weaving a Compelling Narrative

Sherwin-Williams didn’t stop at simply showcasing Kingdom Gold in fashion. They went a step further by developing a compelling narrative around it. They dubbed Kingdom Gold the “loneliest color” and created a backstory about its yearning to be noticed. This playful narrative added an emotional dimension to the campaign, making viewers connect with the color on a deeper level.

The Takeaway: Craft a compelling story around your product. Give it a personality, a history, a reason to belong. This emotional connection can be a powerful tool for boosting customer engagement.

A light colored living room with a yellow colored chimney

Beyond the Walls: Redefining Application

Another key aspect of the marketing strategy was to expand the perceived uses of Kingdom Gold. Traditionally, paint is associated with wall colors. However, Sherwin-Williams showcased Kingdom Gold’s potential in unexpected applications, such as furniture accents, decorative objects, and even DIY projects.

By creating stunning visuals with these diverse uses, they demonstrated how the color could elevate the aesthetics of any space. Suddenly, Kingdom Gold wasn’t just a “wall color,” it was a design tool with endless possibilities.

The Takeaway: Challenge traditional uses of your product. Think outside the box and inspire your customers to envision unique applications. This can help overcome product fatigue and spark a sense of novelty.

A yellow colored cupboard

Measuring Success: Beyond the Can

The success of the “Loneliest Color” campaign wasn’t just measured by paint can sales. Sherwin-Williams tracked a significant increase in brand awareness and social media engagement. The campaign sparked conversations about color choices and the power of unexpected partnerships.  More importantly, it demonstrated the brand’s willingness to take risks and embrace creativity.

The Takeaway:  Look beyond immediate sales figures to measure the success of your marketing campaign. Increased brand awareness, customer engagement, and positive sentiment are all valuable metrics.

Beyond Kingdom Gold: A Universal Approach

The lessons learned from the “Loneliest Color” campaign extend far beyond a single paint color.  Sherwin-Williams’ success story offers a roadmap for marketing any underperforming product. By adapting a creative and audience-centric approach, businesses can unlock the hidden potential within their lineup, turning “lesser-known” products into customer favorites.

The Final Word:  Don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted marketing campaign.  With a touch of creativity, strategic partnerships, and a compelling narrative, you can transform even the “loneliest” product into a shining star.

Adapting Social CEO John Vagueiro in front of a tablet

Inspired to market your least popular product but don’t know where to start? Let’s get you started. Here at Adapting Social, we’ve been crafting innovative marketing campaigns for over 15 years. As a full-service marketing agency, we possess the resources and expertise to tackle any challenge, from brand awareness to lead generation.

Let’s take a page out of Sherwin-Williams’ playbook and unlock the true potential of your overlooked products. Contact us today for a free consultation and see how we can help your brand shine!

Photo credit: Sherwin Williams

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