Kevin Brown is chief marketing officer of Plymouth-based Select Comfort, makers of the Sleep Number bed. On his first day with the company, he was on a plane with CEO Shelly Ibach to Las Vegas and CES, the trade show where they introduced Sleep IQ technology and the company’s first generation smart bed. The company is currently rolling out its Sleep Number 360 smart bed, the most important product launch in company history. Academy Award-nominated Jeff Cronenweth — of “Gone Girl” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” fame — has been hired as director of photography. The idea, Brown said, was to bring a cinematic and feature film look to the campaign. The lighting and creativity hopefully speak to “holistic benefits with some wink and wit,” he said.
Q: What was it that attracted you to Select Comfort 3½ years ago?
A: Absolutely it was the mission-driven culture of our company to improve lives through individualized sleep experiences. Everyone I’ve met, to a T, is all about improving lives.
Q: Sleep Number is introducing an all new product portfolio. What’s the strategy?
A: We are taking a phased approach and introduced the first two Sleep Number 360 smart beds in May, with the i7 and i10 beds. We plan to roll out additional Sleep Number 360 smart beds this summer and fall. The Sleep Number 360 smart bed will be available in all Sleep Number stores and online.
Q: What new marketing efforts are associated with the new bed?
A: We are introducing a completely new integrated marketing campaign to tell our brand story and ask the question, ‘Does your bed do that?’ The campaign is supported by national, broad-reach television, a revised digital experience for our website, digital media, social, radio, print and out-of-home media to drive demand to our more than 550 locations nationwide and our website.
Q: Who are you partnering with for the marketing and advertising campaigns?
A: As with all of our marketing campaigns, we have a mix of both internal and external partners working on everything from our television campaign, to media, to public relations, to our digital experience, to our store experience. Our collective team is passionate about everyone getting their best sleep ever and bringing their ‘A’ games and individual talents to this campaign. I am thankful for each and everyone on the team.
Q: Your advertising partner, Minneapolis-based Peterson Milla Hooks (PMH), is using some clever techniques in highlighting the new bed’s features. Why is that important?
A: It’s all about storytelling around the awesome consumer benefits of the bed and technology: The 360 smart bed literally introduces herself in the ads to viewers. Our creative approach to this advertising was to take something very technological and give it a personality by adding a warm voice that explains what the bed can do — it’s benefits. Innovative product features: self-adjusting comfort throughout the night and a foot-warming feature to fall asleep faster. It’s the only bed smart enough to change sleep as we know it.
Q: How does messaging for these new beds differ from previous products?
A: Our ad campaign builds on the initial introduction of the Sleep Number 360 smart bed at CES in January. At Sleep Number, we believe sleep is at the center of a healthy mind, body and soul, and with the Sleep Number 360 smart bed, it’s about quality sleep being effortless. We’re challenging America to wake up and think differently about how sleep impacts their everyday lives.
Q: How will technology of the new bed foster more of an ongoing relationship with the customer?
A: SleepIQ learns individual sleep behaviors and provides individualized sleep insights. If the user is connecting to other data providers (e.g., FitBit and Nest), SleepIQ will provide insights about how sleep impacts their well-being in about 30 days. The more the user sticks to the same sleep patterns, the more likely it will be to learn behaviors within that first month.
Q: What feedback have you received from the first buyers of the new bed?
A: Our customers have been excited to upgrade. We’ve heard that they are most excited about the innovative technology that is tailored to getting a full healthy night’s rest.
Q: What else will be new in the sales process (ordering, delivery, installation, sharing data) that is associated with the new bed?
A: We have a multiyear plan to transition bed assembly from our customers’ homes to our plants and distribution centers. We expect this change to increase efficiency and provide a better in-home experience for our customers.
Q: How is Select Comfort selling its old beds while it introduces its newest one?
A: As we introduce the new line, we will close out of our current mattress models throughout 2017. Right now, we have a mix of 360 products and legacy products on our sales floors in 550 stores.