A marketer’s love of their own brand can cost them sales…

In most western countries the mattress and bedding industry is highly competitive. The tactics usually involve retailers creating loads of different brands and price points, so it’s confusing and not easy for consumers to compare apples with apples, so to speak.

If you’re interested in just how weird and corrupt the industry can be, check out this story from Fast Company about the online mattress industry in the US. But I digress.

Recently I tweeted (a rare thing for me to do) about a cheeky outdoor poster by a company called Koala.com.

Here’s the poster:

It is located on a main road a few hundred metres before an Ikea store. The copy on the poster is:

no tools, no worries, koala.com

There is an accompanying image of an Alan Key and screws, like those you use when assembling Ikea furniture.

On the face of it, it’s quite a clever execution.

In marketing parlance; my unaided recall of the brand koala.com was zero. So I naturally assumed koala.com was a company that provided a service to assemble Ikea furniture.

I decided to check it out – only to discover Koala.com supplies mail-order mattresses. They are very good at it too – very similar brand personality to the Dollar Shaver Club.

So I tweeted the following:

I suspect this cheeky outdoor poster from Koala only works if you know that Koala is a mattress brand. Otherwise, you probably assume Koala is service to put together Ikea flat packs. Marketers think everyone knows their brand as well as they do

The response from Koala was interesting to say the least:

have you been living under a rock? if you’d like check us out here Ps. Koalas are terrible at building Ikea furniture

The response is a dead giveaway that the Koala marketers are in love with their brand way more than the general public. They live their brand every day – it’s their job. They have been very successful, so assume that success translates to every (non-living under a rock) potential mattress-buyer, knowing all about them.

And while I can appreciate the enthusiasm of successful youthful marketers, it’s no excuse for poor manners.

woohoo we’re a success…

I responded to Koala explaining that because I was in marketing I was aware of their brand. But it turns out I was wrong. Again in marketing parlance; my aided recall kicked in, and I remembered an advertisement I’d seen with Serena Williams flogging mattresses and thought it was a Koala ad. Turns out my recall ain’t what it used to be, as Serena flogs a competitor.

The reason I’m writing about this is simple. In the last 12 months I’ve bought four mattresses – a king-size and three queen-size. I suspect that’s a reasonable sale, even for a company as successful as Koala appears to be.

I cannot tell you what brand they are and I was obviously living under a rock that had no Koala advertising, because I never considered buying a Koala. The Koala brand wasn’t on my radar and unlike most consumers, I actively watch advertising.

I just checked the mattress brands. The King is similar in style to the brand Serena is flogging, while the queens are a different brand again. In case you’re interested, my bride and I negotiated a bulk deal with a pleasing discount, after a bit of shopping around – we like the social aspect of shopping and discussing our requirements with salespeople.

Marketers must remember that customers don’t really care much about brands, except when they are in the market to buy, or when something goes wrong with the product or service they’ve bought. That’s why marketers need to advertise consistently and reach as many people as often as possible, as they cannot predict when people will buy. They must also not assume that their own attitude for their brand represents the typical consumer atttitude – the respective attitudes are usually vastly different.

Though I have been keeping an eye out for Koala advertising online and on TV, but alas nothing sighted yet. I suppose I’d better take that insightful advice from Koala and get out from the rock under which I’m living – I might get lucky and see a Koala advertisement and really live a fulfilling life…

Gotta go now, am off to have an afternoon snoozzzze…


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