When composer Max Richter wrote his score Sleep, he fully expected people to do just that when they listened to it.
The eight-hour lullaby debuted in 2015 and Richter has been performing it live (and overnight) across Europe. The event caught the attention of the team at Beautyrest who saw an opportunity to push the company’s somewhat stagnant marketing strategy in a new direction.
“We’re really not a brand that’s experientially based. But when we heard about this, I said it’s absolutely the perfect fit for us,” says Warren Kornblum, interim chief marketing officer of Beautyrest’s parent company Serta Simmons Bedding. “When he did the concerts in Europe, people were either laying on the floor in sleeping bags or on cots, and we said if we’re going to do this, let’s put them on Beautyrest mattresses and really guide the experience.”
In partnership with Beautyrest, Richter’s Sleep had its U.S. debut in March during SXSW, and has since moved to a two-night engagement in New York City earlier this month. Rows and rows of Beautyrest mattresses filled theSpring Studios event space while Richter and his orchestra performed his eight-hour opus and concertgoers dozed off–or at least I did.
Although Serta Simmons remains one of the market’s leading brands, Kornblum admits that companies like Casper have outstripped them when it comes to connecting with consumers.
“You have to be true to your brand, and most of all being true to your brand means being true to your consumers. We’re certainly not going to chase doing experiential things for the sake of them, but we are open to things where we can bring our brand to life with people in a very real, and very relevant, and very fluid way,” Kornblum says. “The mattress industry has gone through a lot of disruption and I think it’s time that leading brands like us wake up and act more like a challenger brand. Those guys taught us a lesson in that it’s really about connecting with the consumer. We’ve got a lot of really great touch points too–I think we just got a little sleepy.”
Some of those touch points include Beautyrest having 200 patents in mattress technology or the fact that they invented the pocketed coil mattress. Kornblum says that an event like Sleep has set a particularly high standard for Beautyrest and Serta’s other brands in the experiential marketing space. But it’s a challenge he says is necessary for any brand to meet head on if they want to stay relevant to its consumers .
“We really believe that even though we’re a B2B brand, we also have to have a dialogue with the consumer. So B2B2C has really become a major shift point,” Kornblum says. “With all due respect, the disruptive group, they’re unbelievably smart marketing people. But we’re mattress people–and we’ve got a great story to tell.”