Ruchika Jha
Marketing

The Sleep Company plans Rs 80-100 crore ad spend for 2024, banks on star power

Ripal Chopda, chief marketing officer, The Sleep Company, believes that when consumers evolve and engage, it helps brands thrive in the industry.

There has been a rise in new-age direct-to-consumer (D2C) mattress brands that are attracting consumers with features such as smart mattress that controls temperature, provides ventilation, hybrid mattresses, orthopaedic foam, and more.

Mumbai-based sleep solutions company, The Sleep Company, falls into this category. It has now moved beyond its SmartGRID mattress to offer several other products such as smart recliner beds, pillows, and sofas.

According to Moneycontrol, the five-year-old organisation’s annual revenue run rate (ARR) was over Rs 350 crore as of September 2023, compared to Rs 60 crore in November 2021.

Since 2019, the company has grown quickly across multiple sales channels and achieved strong financial results, strengthening its abilities. The Sleep Company says it uses technology, science, and ergonomics to create office chairs, pillows, mattresses, and similar products.

Other major brands in this segment include Wakefit, Duroflex, Emma Sleep, Sleepyhead, Flo Mattress, SleepyCat, and Sunday Mattresses. According to Statista, the revenue in the mattress market in India amounts to Rs 2,087 crore in 2024. The market is expected to grow annually by 4.86% (CAGR 2024-2029).

The brand recently launched its chair line, ErgoSmart by The Sleep Company. With this, the company aims to establish itself as a House of Brands and further foray into multiple categories.

Ripal Chopda, chief marketing officer, The Sleep Company, shares that the company is currently positioned in around 3-4 categories, with mattresses being its core business. Since its inception, it has observed that some products address different need gaps from the consumer's perspective.

In 2023, we spent approximately Rs 80 crore on brand building and advertising across various platforms.

“When the product need gaps are different, the reason for purchase intention varies significantly. When the reason for purchase intention is different, the same brand cannot do justice to all of them. Therefore, we have now segregated one of our core businesses, namely office chairs, into ErgoSmart by The Sleep Company,” he says.

Chopda states that in terms of budget, a large part of The Sleep Company’s budget goes towards performance marketing. However, as of now, since it is building a brand for the long term, it has reached a scale where the business is more offline than online.

Consistency of brand positioning is extremely important.

He says, “We have embarked on our brand-building journey over the last 12 months, with nearly one-third of our expenditure now allocated to brand building. Therefore, over the next 2-3 years, this axis will shift predominantly towards brand building and less towards performance marketing. Our total advertising and marketing budget by the end of 2024 is estimated to be between Rs 80-100 crore in media. In 2023, we spent approximately Rs 80 crore on brand building and advertising across various platforms.”

The Sleep Company is banking on print, digital, and electronic media for its ad campaigns. Chopda says that the company goes hyper-local with its print ads. A print campaign is more city-specific compared to a national campaign, so the copy is changed for each city.

We have around 65-70% of our stores in metro cities, approximately 30% in tier-1 cities, and we are piloting initiatives in tier-2 cities.

“For our larger video and digital campaigns, we go with the larger consumer base. In my opinion, consistency of brand positioning is extremely important,” he adds. The brand runs its advertisements on regional media channels in the southern markets of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and soon will be expanding in other states in the south as well.

The target group

The Sleep Company’s mattresses, chairs, and other products fall into the premium category, targeting individuals aged between 30 and 50 years Within five years of its existence and 20 months since starting its offline journey, the brand now has 90 offline stores in 25-26 cities across India.

“We have around 65-70% of our stores in metro cities, approximately 30% in tier-1 cities, and we are piloting initiatives in tier-2 cities. Warangal in Telangana and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh are two cities where we currently have pilots to gauge demand and business potential. In the eastern region, we are present in Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, and Guwahati. In Kolkata, we have three stores and will be opening two more in the next couple of months. In Guwahati and Bhubaneswar, we have one store each,” says Chopda.

The Sleep Company refers to itself as a digital-first brand, also targeting a slightly younger audience employed in corporate settings. To raise awareness among this demographic, the brand chose to heavily focus on digital and influencer marketing from the outset.

Chopda says that a simple term the company uses is called ‘Research Online, Purchase Offline’ (ROPO). “In today's world what consumers are doing is that they have started researching online first and that is when we tend to push them to go offline to our stores and experience the product. This has helped us in our journey to grow strong,” he explains.

Celebrity factor

The Sleep Company has named Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor as its brand ambassador and has come up with several campaigns featuring him. To promote its ErgoSmart products, it has actor Jim Sarbh. The company also collaborated with filmmaker Karan Johar for the Elev8 Smart Recliner Bed and SmartGRID mattress.

According to Chopda, leveraging celebrities is efficient for two main reasons. Firstly, it cuts through the clutter in the creative space, where numerous brand ads and media perspectives vie for attention. Secondly, for a new brand, it instils a sense of trust by associating with well-known personalities and investing in them.

It is the idea that builds a brand and celebrities are the messengers to deliver those ideas

The celebrity factor has worked in The Sleep Company’s favour thus far. Chopda believes in consistency, noting that, “If a brand works with a celebrity just for one or two years, people are not going to remember it.”

This is the fourth advertisement that the brand released with Anil Kapoor in the last three years of association and it has signed a new contract with him for two more years. Therefore, he is going to be with it for nearly five years by the time The Sleep Company completes five years of its journey.

“It is important that a consumer associates a brand with that particular celebrity. For example, a consumer can ask a shopkeeper to show the mattress that Anil Kapoor advertises. This is the kind of positive association we aim for.  Consumers associating us with that celebrity is where it is helping us as a brand. It is the idea that builds a brand and celebrities are the messengers to deliver those ideas,” says Chopda.

The path ahead

According to Chopda, The Sleep Company’s market share is increasing with time because of the surge in the number of offline stores. As a fledgling brand, it is eager to expand and establish a dominant presence in the market. “Our objective is to establish leadership in one or two markets by the end of 2024. We're also aiming to become a strong runner-up or leader in one or two metro cities within the same timeframe,” he notes.

When consumers become evolved and involved, it helps us to grow in the industry far more.

As previously mentioned, the rise of new-age D2C mattress brands continues as they aim to compete with established names like Kurlon and Sleepwell.

Chopda believes that with these new brands coming in and advertising to consumers, this perception is helping to change the narrative. Consumers are becoming more informed and engaged with the mattress category, conducting thorough research compared to their habits 2-3 years ago. “This is great for all brands in this category. When consumers become evolved and involved, it helps us to grow in the industry far more,” he conveys.

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