The bed-in-a-box mattress market has become particularly crowded in the past few years. According to Zion, it is set to grow even further in future, potentially reaching $43 billion by 2024.
Eve Sleep is one of the UK’s biggest players, rivalling Casper as the most recognisable mattress brand out there. So how has Eve generated success?
The brand’s co-founder, Kuba Wieczorek, who I heard speak at Ometria’s Lifecycle conference in September, says that it is all down to a dedication to storytelling. Here’s more on Eve’s strategy, and why it’s helped the brand sell more than just mattresses.
The point of Eve
Eve originally started on Groupon, with the brand’s co-founder selling mattresses through the discount marketplace. After discovering that there was huge demand for the product online, the business was set up in its own right, eventually launching in 2015.
One of Eve’s first aims was to change common perceptions of a mattress brand – something that was previously seen as super functional. Brands have often focused on factors like mattress material and how it effectively supports the spine and so on. In order to differentiate itself, Eve created ‘the book of Eve’ – a manifesto that outlines its key brand principles.
The central thread is that “every great day starts the night before”, which is a philosophy that has shaped Eve’s storytelling and advertising strategy. Instead of marketing the experience of sleep (which, ironically, is what Casper tends to do) – Eve positions itself as a “morning brand”, with the product touted in the context of a healthy, balanced, and energetic life.
it's time to be a morning person ????
inspired to rise a little earlier? We explain how to make the shift from night owl to morning lark on our blog, sleep etc. It’s a lot easier than it seems – we promise > https://t.co/4OJoXBRRiD #timetobeamorningperson pic.twitter.com/OzOVvVTC1X
— eve Sleep (@eve_sleep) October 19, 2018
In his talk at Lifescycle, Kuba Wieczorek showed the audience his initial brainstorm sketch, which featured these phrases alongside other words like “zingy”, “wake up”, and “better sleep, better you”. While these phrases might sound a little cliché, it’s interesting to note the thread in Eve’s storytelling, with its bright yellow branding reflecting this focus on the new day ahead (and not the sleep before).
The long-copy campaign
Back in 2016, Eve cemented itself in the public’s consciousness with a recognisable yet divisive advertising campaign. It was largely made up of posters on the London underground and rail stations in the UK, with ads using long-form copy to tell a story to commuters.
One of the biggest debates in advertising is whether long or short copy is more effective. Content marketing has seen brands shift from brevity to longer-form writing, mostly to align with Google’s favouring of authoritative content.
Out and about, however, it’s perhaps less likely that people will stop for enough time to read and engage with long-form copy. Alongside this, there is also the danger of long-form copywriting coming across as indulgent and irrelevant, potentially veering into ‘wackaging’ territory – which can also feel patronising to consumers.
For Eve, its copywriting has been smart enough to avoid this (mostly). The context of the tube was also a key element of the campaign, as it relies on commuters’ attention being naturally piqued by ads in carriages – even if they’re engaged in other activities like listening to podcasts or reading a book. Wieczorek says that the ads were a success because they told a story that stuck in people’s brains. They also stuck out in a sea of short and formulaic ads, making the ‘long copy’ element a key identifier for Eve.
On the back of the campaign, the brand saw a significant uplift in brand-related searches, with consumers looking for “eve mattresses” rather than just “mattresses”. Similarly, its level of brand awareness in London rose from 1% to 12% in the space of a month.
Telling stories in real-life
Alongside storytelling in adverts, Eve ensures that it continues its brand messaging elsewhere. Its packaging includes brand copy, reinforcing key messages like “wakey wakey” as well as longer copy relating to morning productivity.
Another PR stunt – which involved the brand sending out mattresses with the ‘first chapter of a book’ printed on them – was so well received that it went on to release them for sale online.
Similarly, Wieczorek cites brand collaborations as another way to get the message out there. Eve has previously collaborated with fashion brand Folk on a range of pyjamas. The objective, Wieczorek says, was awareness – the campaign was designed to reach a new audience and raise Eve’s profile as a ‘sleep brand’ rather than a mattress seller.
This brings us on to Eve’s ticketed events, which are designed to turn its lifestyle content into real-life workshops and activities, including yoga sessions and panel talks. The brand’s Facebook community, ‘Love Mornings’- which describes itself as a place “for people that want to get things done before 9am” recently held a yoga event in London. The event – which aimed to deepen a connection with consumers and foster loyalty – sold out in a short space of time, proving fans’ existing investment in the brand’s lifestyle-focused philosophy.
So, what can we learn from Eve’s example? Here’s a few key takeaways from its dedication to storytelling.
Find a point of difference. The premise of ‘selling sleep’ is not an original one, however, the idea of selling ‘the feeling after sleep’ is not something other mattress brands tend to focus on. This – and the story that surrounds it – allows Eve to differentiate itself from other brands with an almost identical product.
Tell stories in different ways. Long-form copy in ads allowed Eve to stand out, but it’s not the only way it tells its story. Photography and branding is also key, with the brand using this to highlight its bright and breezy persona.
Create new chapters. After its tube ads, Eve moved into television advertising, launching its ‘sleep rich’ campaign to highlight the perils of poor sleep. This was a continuation of its brand story, and allowed it to market itself as a ‘sleep brand’ – highlighting its other products like pillows and mattress toppers. According to Wieczorek, continual evolution is a vital component of brand storytelling, with Eve iterating on its core philosophy to upsell and inspire loyalty.