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Changing mindsets is changing brands: Mathew Chandy, Duroflex

06-December-2017
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Changing mindsets is changing brands: Mathew Chandy, Duroflex

Mathew Chandy, MD Duroflex, has been working on spicing-up the mattress category and increasing consumer engagement since a while now. Chandy spoke at length about how Duroflex, the third largest mattress brand in India, is trying to make the category more purposeful at the first ever exchange4media Conclave - South. “Reinventing the brand can be done only by focusing on reinventing your people,” he said speaking about how Duroflex reinvented itself.

Before Duroflex reinvented itself, the team first identified problem areas that needed to be addressed. “All of you experience our product every day. We have seen your birth, your life and even your death. We are privy to your life, yet most of our consumers will not engage with our product,” he noted as he began explaining the Duroflex strategy. The quest is to make a product that is always under the covers sexy. “Because no matter what mattress you have under the sheets, you cannot show it off,” he said.

The other problem for this category he said is the attitude that people have towards sleep. “We don’t take sleep seriously and invest in externally beautiful products, but not products that actually make a difference to your quality of sleep,” he said. He also noted that a mattress is only one of the factors that contributes to good sleep. “If we don’t have control over our brand promise, a great night’s sleep, what can we promise you?” he asked. Consumer behaviour shows that most people do not change their mattresses for more than 10 years. “We build products that are meant to last. So, if the last time you bought a mattress was 10 years ago, are you going to remember the brand you bought 10 years ago?” he reasoned. “The final problem for the category is sustainability,” Chandy said. “Because of the movement away from coir, disposing mattresses that are mostly synthetic, needs to be managed in a way that it does not impact the environment,” he noted.

To solve each of the problems that he listed, Chandy and his team went to the basics of marketing to refresh the brand Duroflex. As a first step, Duroflex improved the outwardly look of the mattresses and became the first brand in India to create designer mattresses. “The team also redesigned the mattresses with new features. To add to that, Duroflex maintained the same price even after adding new features because the Indian market is price-sensitive,” he said.

Speaking about promotions, Chandy said it was a complete leap of faith for brand Duroflex to associate with IPL T20 Team Royal Challenge Bangalore and Virat Kohli. “We did not know if we could afford it, but we said we’d do it anyway because marketing is an investment, not an expense. He noted that the association with RCB and Virat Kohli got Duroflex a 15X RoI. “We are now associating with Masterchef, a completely aspirational brand. It’s being aired in jurisdictions where we don’t even sell mattresses. But we do want to be associated as a lifestyle brand and not just a very functional brand,” he said.

Being a small brand with limited marketing spend, Chandy said, “We are trying to reach the same consumer as big brands. We have got to be more creative about getting the message out using digital, evangelists, etc.”

In order to increase engagement, Chandy said that Duroflex aims to be a service rather than a product. “We want to be able to clean your mattress and offer upgrades without the customer having to change the original product. And finally convert the service into an experience where we can tell you how you slept and what you could do to sleep better,” he said.

Finally, Chandy said that it was when the team began thinking about the customer and what they like and want, that the brand was really reinvented. To that end, Duroflex partnered with several people who showed them how to think like a consumer brand. “Changing people and changing mind-sets is really what changing a brand is all about,” he concluded.

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