Revolutionizing a Tired Industry: What Brands Can Learn from Casper

By Molly Davis Lind

There’s a new startup on the block that is rocking the sleep world – and the brand world.

Casper believes “we are how we sleep” and offers a mattress-in-a-box solution that meets “the Goldilocks standard of ‘just-right’” firmness. Selling between $500 and $950 a pop, shipping is free (and delivered via messenger bike in NYC). Customers can try the mattress for 100 days with no strings attached. But what’s really riveting about Casper is not the product (truth be told: I haven’t tried it) but the actual brand.

casper_in_box

With a vivacious personality, witty charm, great product design and a personal touch, Casper is bringing fun to bedtime. But the mattress industry is no yawning matter (ahem). According to “2013 Mattress Industry Report of Sales and Trends” U.S. mattress producers shipped almost 36 million units with wholesale revenues at $7 billion. While there are a half-dozen other mattress brands with the same business model looking to disrupt the industry, Casper was the one that made $20M in sales in their first ten months, crediting to word of mouth and a superb social medial campaign.

While it helps that this internet mattress startup is funded by Aston Kutcher, the real success comes from Casper’s branding. Here are three things brands can learn from Casper to keep customers from zzzzz’s.

#1) Deliver *consistently* amazing experiences
Casper brings sleep to life in a fun way. With messages like “Better sleep for brighter days”, “Contours to your body, adds bounce to your life”, “Jump in bed with Casper!”, “A look under the bed” (how we make it) and “Pillow Talk” (bedtime reading for sleep hackers, dreamers and insomniacs) Casper has got the messaging front down. Even their team page touts members that “come to Casper with 24 years of sleeping on a mattress.” They offer free bedtime readings and are “on call to answer your questions or sing you a lullaby.”

Clever messages aside, the key to delivering a great voice and tone is consistency. A brand can develop clever messaging, but if it’s delivered inconsistently through different channels (and by people who don’t understand how to write for the brand) developing a memorable brand voice and tone is nearly impossible. It goes beyond great voice and tone guidelines – the brand team has to be on board.

#2) Engage customers and make it fun
Razors aren’t fun. Glasses aren’t fun. And mattresses aren’t fun. The key to Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker and Casper is fun social interactions and conversation. To quote the brand’s Shorty Awards entry, “Casper didn’t want to churn out the usual prescriptive advice. Instead, we focus on putting people to sleep with our mattress and keep them awake with our social. We tap into entertaining, comedic, and valuable sleep content through a novel voice that is authentic, genuine and feels like your friend — not a mattress salesman.”

“We constantly listen to our customers on social. If they tweet that they’re tired, we make sure to tweet them a coffee. If they’re going on a trip, we tell them their Casper will miss them dearly (and wants a souvenir). When we notice someone raves about us, we’ll send them something to enjoy with their new mattress — anything from a nightcap to breakfast in bed.”

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Facebook.com/caspersleep
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Casper’s customers shape the brand and direct its future. Casper encourages its buyers to post videos of themselves unboxing their mattresses on social media. This sort inclusive approach has led its growth of more than 40,000 fans in less than ten months.

#3) Spin ordinary
According to Casper, “We celebrate sleep through humorous sayings, transform Billboard 100 songs into sleep jams, entertain late-night insomniacs who can’t put their phone down with #linksomnia bedtime reading, prioritize the lifestyle of sleep (breakfast, pajamas, and boozy nightcaps), and boil down sleep news with our Week in Sleep.”

No matter what you sell or what industry you are in, there is no excuse to be boring. Spend time – lots of time – thinking about how to engage audiences by putting a spin on ordinary.

Molly Davis Lind is Senior Communication Strategist at MetaDesign.

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