Company: Sherwin-Williams Company, Krylon division
Contact: Mark Ksiezyk, Senior Product Manager – Krylon Retail at the Sherwin-Williams Company; Howard Zoss, President,
Location: Cleveland, OH
Industry: Coatings and related products
Annual revenue: $8,000,000,000
Number of employees: 31572

Quick Read:

In a time of marketing and advertising budget cuts, Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams invested its dollars in digital collateral for the launch of its latest spray-paint-related product release.

To highlight its latest innovation, the Krylon EZ Touch 360˚ Dial Spray Tip, to retailers and its own sales team, in June 2007 the company tapped a local advertising and web consultancy to create an interactive digital collateral piece.

Instead of PowerPoint presentations and sales sheets, Sherwin-Williams sought to arm its salespeople with a dynamic tool to get retailers excited about the spray-tip product and its uses.

The Challenge

To obtain buy-in from its salespeople for the new Krylon EZ Touch 360˚ Dial Spray Tip, as well as to publicize it among consumers and retailers, Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams sought to create immediate and meaningful impact about its new product.

The company reached out to, a local firm that it tasked with creating a digital collateral piece for Sherwin-Williams salespeople and customer-service teams—collateral unique enough to would excite retailers as well as consumers.

"Sherwin-Williams wanted a way to introduce the innovation and create excitement about it and make sure their buyers were equally enthused," Howard Zoss, president of recalled.

Krylon also wanted to use the digital collateral on the web, as well as portions of it for in-store and tradeshow displays. Moreover, it wanted portable packaging that was inexpensive to mail out to hundreds of its salespeople.

The Krylon EZ Touch 360˚ Dial Spray Tip was slated for release in January 2008.

In December 2007, Sherwin-Williams was able to hold a videoconference with its 400-member sales staff and used the interactive collateral to demonstrate the features of the new product.

The Campaign: assigned a five-person creative team to come up with the collateral, which took nearly five months to create—longer than usual. Zoss said creating a digital collateral piece usually takes 6-8 weeks.

"It was unusual that it took as long as it did with Krylon, but they added some more functionality after the initial group of people previewed the digital content in December," noted Zoss.

In December 2007, Krylon conducted a companywide videoconference with its entire sales team, and Mark Ksiezyk, senior product manager, Krylon Retail, at the Sherwin-Williams Company, used the interactive piece to demonstrate the features of the new EZ Touch 360˚ Dial Spray Tip.

A benefit of using digital pieces is that they are easy to change and do not have to be reprinted or thrown out. They can be tweaked and then repurposed as still-valuable marketing content and used in sales meetings, PR initiatives, and in-store as demo loops.

"The digital collateral can be multi-purposed quickly and created in whatever platform is necessary and in multi-languages as well," said Zoss. Compatibility issues with hardware are not a problem, as the collateral can be created for whatever platform the company or the retailer uses.

Accordingly, Krylon used the same digital piece on its consumer Web site, and the flash movie portion of the collateral is looped for in-store and tradeshow displays in booths.

Krylon also conducted additional training at its national sales meeting in February 2008 with the piece before distributing it companywide and to its resellers. In total, 7,500 CDs were created, and the cost for the entire package was $91,000.

Cost ranges from $85,000 to $125,000, depending on content, turnaround time and amount of interactivity, according to Zoss.

The Results:

"The digital collateral enables us to dynamically show the innovation, movement and quality improvement of the new EZ Touch 360˚ spray tip," said Ksiezyk.

Response to the presentations at the national sales meetings and to the CDs was overwhelmingly positive: "The sales team enjoyed it because it visually demonstrated the entire package enhancement and there was definitely a wow factor with our buyers," recalled Ksiezyk.

In addition, Sherwin-Williams was able to publicize the new product easily by mail, sending CDs to top consumer magazines, including Home, House and Garden, and Ladies Home Journal, among others.

Krylon  was able to give its sales team a glossy, visual, and dynamic media piece that was portable—in the form of a CD. No training was involved. In just the time it took to show the salespeople the presentation, Krylon had provided them a valuable selling tool to take to their clients.

"Through the...CDs, Krylon's newly launched spray tip is gaining much wider acceptance on retailer's shelves nationally," said Ksiezyk.

Because of the positive feedback from both sales staff and buyers, according to Ksiezyk, the company adapted a consumer version of the digital piece to host on its Web site and to play on DVD players in-store for shoppers.

Krylon spent over three years conducting consumer research and testing to provide a product that would improve the consumer spraying experience, and Ksiezyk noted this piece was the "perfect tool that we used to rally behind the launch."

By using the digital piece, Krylon's salespeople were able to drive more sales of the spray tip. "We are still rolling this out as a soft conversion, so I can't provide the exact lift number, but I can tell you that we are extremely pleased with the progress of the conversion thus far," Ksiezyk said.

Lessons Learned:

  • Provide your sales teams with innovative collateral to sell their products, and keep an eye out for synergistic uses of that collateral, aimed at consumers and others.
  • Don't leave out the customer service teams in a new product launch. Krylon also made the digital collteral available to its customer service team members so they could learn about the new product and communicate with customers about it.

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