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Wake up you addict!

“We’re number one in the rankings,” interrupted my client excitedly over the top of his laptop during a recent meeting at Designate HQ.

“You mean in sales?” I said with hope in my voice.

“No mate, they’re still shit, but we are number one in search.”

Oh good. Good God.

Oh God.

Oh please somebody shout at our search addict. Don’t be a heroine be a hero. Wake up to what is going on around you, I say.

I was reading with much interest an article in The Guardian about how three companies have turned the boring, formulaic and frankly painful job of mattress buying into something beautiful and aspirational. Using tech, but also brand, to make the job as easy as getting a pizza delivered to your door.

Apparently, we make the dull decision to change what we sleep on an average of every 12 years. Somebody spotted an opportunity. Why schlep to the next most boring shop to a carpet outlet and bounce around on a few beds while a bloke with a moustache looks on with a semi, while mentally imagining himself bouncing on that very bed next to your other half.

Surely you can order online, get it delivered and have a 90-day money back guarantee? Cut out the semi man and go direct to the source. And now you can. Using a clever innovation they can now squash and box your mattress and deliver it direct for less than the cost of a shop-bought equivalent.

It really is a great concept. And a change in the way we do things. But how did these new businesses like Eve Sleep, Simba and Casper make us change our buying habits – and indeed our view of what we sleep with literally – overnight?

Well, surprisingly, they didn’t just join the other addicts on a search stained mattress in a dark room somewhere on an industrial estate. NO. They spotted the opportunity to change our minds. They altered the way we see the same product and altered the way we buy it. And they did that through creating aspiration and adding practicality, by investing in a concept, and investing in the brand that goes with it…

“We believe it is a game-changing shift,” said Jas Bagniewski, co-founder and chief executive of British start-up Eve, in the recent Guardian piece.

Sales are rising by more than 100% at Eve while traditionalists Warren Evans have gone bust and Bensons for Beds are struggling for survival. These beddy upstarts already have 5% of the market and are aiming at 20% very soon.

Of course, this is early days and as is typical of anyone who wants to make change in this day and age you have to be brave. Forget the semi, these guys have more wood than all the pine doubles in your local bed shop. And they are not stopping.

Eve revealed a £19m loss last year, which was up from £11m for the previous 12-month period.

The reason?

Because they spent almost half of the £28m they generated in sales, on marketing. Yet investors are queuing to jump in to bed with them. What does this tell us?

Life is changing. But you need to step off of your search-stained mattress, go cold turkey for a while and look out beyond the Google squat. Look at the product you offer, look at how you can deliver it and look at how you can engage your audience. Invest in your brand before your clients drop off.

Believe me you won’t achieve it through search alone.

And you may have to endure a few sleepless nights.

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