Marketing in the times of Covid-19: Sleepwell Mattresses
Sumit Sehgal, Chief Marketing Officer, Sheela Foam Industries (Sleepwell Mattresses)
Here's how brands are reworking their marketing strategies during the Covid-19 lockdown

Marketing in the times of Covid-19: Sleepwell Mattresses

Here's how brands are reworking their marketing strategies during the Covid-19 lockdown
  • In our latest series, we talk to brands to understand how they are coping with the new normal and their strategies towards navigating these difficult times.
  • In today’s interview, Sumit Sehgal, Chief Marketing Officer, Sheela Foam Industries (Sleepwell Mattresses), walks us through all that the brand has been doing in the past few weeks, how they have worked around and modified their marketing strategies to ensure they stay relevant in the times of Covid-19.
The past few weeks have been difficult for the world, collectively. We are today witnessing something that none of us had ever anticipated. The spread of Covid-19 and resultant lockdown has affected professions, markets and the global economy.

At such a time, how are brands working on sustaining their relationships with their consumers, what is the way forward and how are they navigating this time of crisis, ensuring business continuity and preparing for the uncertain future?

We recently caught up with Sumit Sehgal, Chief Marketing Officer, Sheela Foam Industries, the manufacturer of mattresses in India marketed under its flagship brand 'Sleepwell’. We tried to understand how the brand has been dealing with the current situation and what they are doing to minimize losses and stay connected and relevant for their consumers.

Edited excerpts:

Q) How have the past few weeks been for the brand, considering the country has been in a lockdown?

The past month has been a difficult time for the world. We are concerned about the well-being of our employees, partners and the country at large. Sleepwell has been a trusted brand for decades and in the current situation, we have stayed connected with our customers and partners through the digital medium with relevant messaging that helps them stay healthy and safe. That is our current priority.

Q) What is your marketing strategy right now? How are you building a connect with your audience? Has there been a change in your media mix?

The spread of the Coronavirus is a huge cause for concern for people and is impacting the most important part in a days’ routine – sleep. Therefore, we have launched an awareness campaign to reiterate the importance of sleep which encourages citizens to commit to 8 hours of sound sleep to build up the body’s defences. The #StaySafeWithSleepwell campaign compares the benefits of common healthy habits that we are currently practising in our homes and lays emphasis on the fact that 8 hours of sleep is equally important to stay healthy. Sleepwell further emphasized on the importance of social distancing by recreating its logo. Ever since the lockdown, the brand has been leveraging creative visual storytelling to urge citizens to stay home, sleep well and curb the spread of Coronavirus. Traditionally Sleepwell had been heavy on Print and Radio as a choice of media but with the current context, Sleepwell has started shifting preference to Digital and TV. Post Covid, the brand will be transitioning to a Digital-first strategy in everything that it does, supplemented by PR and TV.

Q) What are a few key learnings for you as a brand in the last few weeks?

The ‘Why’ for a brand will always remain more important than the ‘How’ or ‘What’ and brands needs to tirelessly pursue this agenda for building long-term brand equity. A brand’s ‘reason for existence’ is a question that they need to find answers to, as going forward, that is going to become more critical for brand success.
An organization should never forget that a brand is a being and should behave as responsible beings in such situations. The approach should not be to stay silent but stand together with your customers and offer any kind of physical or mental support. After all, one remembers only those friends who support in the hours of crisis.

Q) If the lockdown is extended beyond May 3, will you be tweaking your marketing strategy further?

Since the lockdown has extended, we continue our current strategy of imparting education to consumers on the benefits of sound sleep. Our CRM outreach is in regular touch with customers who have experienced with the brand over the last few decades. Our social media handles have become more active in imparting information and addressing consumer concerns.

Q) There's a thin line in terms of a brand's communication in times of crisis where marketing communications can be misread as opportunist or even insensitive. How are you working around this tightrope and ensuring there isn't any miscommunication?

Sleepwell believes in building long-term relationships with its employees, partners and customers. As a responsible corporate and a brand loved by its customers, we place health and safety of all stakeholders ahead of business. During these times, our utmost priority is to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all stakeholders and build awareness in this time of crisis so that they #StaySafeWithSleepwell. That is our sole agenda.