CMO profile: Establishing Koala as a furniture brand

VP marketing for Australia's Koala brand talks through the latest campaign and remit


Mark Khademi built his marketing career working in service businesses, first in the energy sector, and then later as head of marketing for the challenger mobile brand Amaysim.

But in his new role as vice-president of marketing for Australia at online furniture maker, Koala, he finally gets to market something tangible.

“This will be the first time I have worked in a business with a real product that I can touch and feel,” Khademi tells CMO. “Which means I now have to think about things like stock forecasting and planning, and about ranges of colours, which is a reason why the job was appealing to me.”

While the products are significantly different to anything he has marketed previously, Khademi sees significant similarities between Koala and his previous employers – especially Amaysim – in terms of being a challenger brand.

Since its creation in 2015, Koala has carved out a strong brand presence in the mattress market. However, that success has also created a challenge for Khademi when it comes to building recognition for Koala’s broader furniture portfolio.

“Koala is already the market leader in Australia for mattresses, and we are really well known with the most awarded mattress range,” Khademi says. “But as a business, as much as half of our sales come from furniture, but we are just not known as a furniture brand.

“Our customer advocacy is 92 per cent, so we are doing a really good job. It is as much around the service proposition, and that fact that you can order today on the website and it will be there this afternoon. Compare that to a traditional retail experience, where you could be waiting months for your product to arrive.”

Changing dynamics

In April, Koala launched its first above-the-line campaign focused on a product other than mattresses – in this instance, sofa beds – featuring a humorous video creatives distributed across a multiple media channel. By focusing on sofa beds initially, Khademi says Koala is tapping into changing dynamics in Australian households.

“Australians now are starting to welcome people back to their homes, so the timing for us made a lot of sense,” he says. “People are needing more from their homes in new ways – adaptable spaces that can accommodate different requirements – and a sofa bed plays really nicely into that.

“It is very adaptable, very clever, very comfortable, and if you think about the campaign, it is all about real life scenarios where all of these could require a sofa bed.”

Koala's latest marketing campaignCredit: Koala
Koala's latest marketing campaign

Khademi says further campaigns will follow throughout the year as Koala showcases different elements of its product range, including several new launches over the next 12 months, with a major announcement scheduled for June.

“There is more creative to come, of a similar ilk,” Khademi says. “The real ambition is to now establish Koala in Australia as a furniture brand, rather than a mattress brand. That is the big opportunity for us and that is definitely my plan moving forward.

“Taking the brand into furniture I don’t think will be a challenge, but it is just not something we have focused on before.”

Khademi also sees opportunities to further promote Koala’s sustainability credentials, including its certification as a B-Corp, its support for the World Wildlife Fund, and its membership of 1% for the Planet, which sees it give away one percent of gross sales annually for the good of the planet, people and animals.

“We are a real values-led business, and that was the approach from day one,” Khademi says. “There is an opportunity for us to share more of the good work we are doing in that space, and that is something we are looking at moving forward.

“There is a real depth of credentials around sustainability here, and the brand has a lot of cachet in the market – it is just a really fun, exciting brand to work for.”

Khademi says Koala also won’t be resting on its reputation for customer service and support, with further investments planned to enhance and improve customer experience.

“Whether that is around online shopping or the delivery experience, there are a lot of opportunities for us to get even better there as well,” he says. “We have disrupted the category from a mattress point of view, and there is an opportunity to do that with furniture, with the same proposition around quick delivery, 120-night trials, and really easy returns.

“There is a real gap in the market for that in furniture.”

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here.  

You can also follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page 


Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

More Brand Posts

What are Chris Riddell's qualifications to talk about technology? What are the awards that Chris Riddell has won? I cannot seem to find ...


Digital disruption isn’t disruption anymore: Why it’s time to refocus your business

Read more



CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 9 June

Read more

Great e-commerce article!

Vadim Frost

CMO’s State of CX Leadership 2022 report finds the CX striving to align to business outcomes

Read more

Are you searching something related to Lottery and Lottery App then Agnito Technologies can be a help for you Agnito comes out as a true ...


The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Thorough testing and quality assurance are required for a bug-free Lottery Platform. I'm looking forward to dependability.

Ella Hall

The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Blog Posts

Marketing prowess versus the enigma of the metaverse

Flash back to the classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Television-obsessed Mike insists on becoming the first person to be ‘sent by Wonkavision’, dematerialising on one end, pixel by pixel, and materialising in another space. His cinematic dreams are realised thanks to rash decisions as he is shrunken down to fit the digital universe, followed by a trip to the taffy puller to return to normal size.

Liz Miller

VP, Constellation Research

Why Excellent Leadership Begins with Vertical Growth

Why is it there is no shortage of leadership development materials, yet outstanding leadership is so rare? Despite having access to so many leadership principles, tools, systems and processes, why is it so hard to develop and improve as a leader?

Michael Bunting

Author, leadership expert

More than money talks in sports sponsorship

As a nation united by sport, brands are beginning to learn money alone won’t talk without aligned values and action. If recent events with major leagues and their players have shown us anything, it’s the next generation of athletes are standing by what they believe in – and they won’t let their values be superseded by money.

Simone Waugh

Managing Director, Publicis Queensland

Sign in