How A.H. Beard redefined its masterbrand from beds to sleep wellness

The brand has redefined its product offering and its mission of supporting sleep and wellbeing

For long-time Australian mattress and bed manufacturer, A.H. Beard, devising a new masterbrand identity is the culmination of 120 years of its history.

The new brand positioning reflects the company’s innovation, craftsmanship and passion for sleep and is deeply symbolic. A new brand crest, for example, consists of six lines that represents the six mattresses made in seven days by founder, Enoch William Beard’s son Albert, who together with his wife, Ada, began making mattresses by hand. The stripes reflect the ticking pattern of the fabric used in the earliest mattresses, while the stitching detail represents a tradition of craftsmanship dating back to 1899.

As a premium brand, the business holds significant market share across a narrow set of distribution channels and so the process for remaking the brand was first unpacking its offering.

“It was about asking: ‘What is the DNA of this 123-year-old business’ and what is uniquely us? That was one of the largest pieces of work,” explained A.H. Beard CEO, Tony Pearson. Working with Premium and Roy Morgan, the brand scoped out the size of the market for its product aligned with the ‘new economic order’ or future shaping consumer.

“Within that segment, there are markets we believe are most attractive to our brand and our business strategy and style,” Pearson told CMO. For the family business, the concept of premium sleep – the deepest, most rejuvenating sleep of all – now underpins everything it does.

In the past, bedding brands were typically owned by large retailers or distributors, and the branding and brand identity itself wasn’t critical in and of itself. Naturally, a lot has changed within bedding manufacturing and technology as well as customer needs and the retail environment itself. While the company’s mission is connecting with the aesthetically minded consumer, building brand awareness presented a pretty sizeable challenge.

“When you go from operating under other people's brands to your master brand, one of the largest parts of the problem to solve is that awareness of our brand was incredibly low,” Pearson explained. But the popularity with brand-aware consumers suggested it would pay dividends. “We found that for those who knew us, the conversion rates were incredibly high.”

The new masterbrand identity clearly needed to be representative of the style of A.H. Beard’s premium offer geared towards its ideal consumer. This meant looking at how to distil brand DNA into strategy, logo style and design, marketing channels and messaging. All elements of the logo represent the brand’s story, its founding and early struggles as well as a family crest being a family owned and run business.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into how to you use emblems to represent your story,” Pearson commented.

Selling the proposition of better sleep

A.H. Beard recently launched its ‘Premium Sleep’ campaign, a way of publicly declaring its guiding mission that drove the business since its inception. While being known as a bedding manufacturer, within the company, the brand has always thought of itself as being in the business of sleep.

The Premium Sleep is designed to rebuff popular ideas like ‘if you snooze you lose’ and instead highlight the role consistent, restful and rejuvenating sleep has on holistic health.

“Our purpose is about improving lives through better sleep, in everything that we do,” Pearson said.

The masterbrand strategy therefore places Premium Sleep at the heart of everything the brand does to deliver its long-held vision to improve lives through better sleep. A new campaign emphasises A.H. Beard’s sleep wellness philosophy, rejects the idea sleep is for the weak and illustrates the message sleep is an essential act that replenishes, repairs and restores.

To reach this point, substantial research was conducted at the start of the process of building awareness to identify A. H. Beard’s target customers. Research indicated very clearly this segment doesn’t respond to loud, shouty messages and its strategy couldn’t rely on this style of advertising. A.H. Beard needed to help people understand its quality difference and its commitment to sleep.

As part of expressing this element of its value proposition, A.H. Beard also created Sleep Wellness Centres and offers a free four-week sleep wellness program. It’s something of a departure for this kind of business to be so overt in the way it connects with customers, according to Person.

“It’s not been part of the business model to actually communicate direct to a consumer. So it required an enormous amount of thought,” he explained.

As the brand gets underway with its mission to educate and advocate for sleep as the first pillar of wellness, it’s rolling out a multi-channel campaign featuring a Hoyts Lux partnership, as well as broadcast and on-demand video ads, premium print and online display. Above all, it’s guided by the brand’s commitment to authenticity, Pearson explained, and imbuing this carefully in the message.

“It’s really understanding why your business exists - to service a consumer need - and how it services that segment differently in a competitive landscape,” he said. “It’s then being able to deliver that message in a very clearly articulated way, particularly when you’re dealing with a consumer segment that’s incredibly well educated and researched.”

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