On the Road to Brandweek: Casper CMO Jeff Brooks Discusses Expanding Product Line and Innovation

With a focus on consumer experiences that promote better sleep

Casper CMO Jeff Brooks will be among the Challenger Brands Track at the Brandweek Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., September 23 to 25.
Headshot of James Cooper

Casper is getting into all things bedroom decor. After seriously disrupting the mattress category four years ago, the company is looking to add to its offerings as it continues to innovate around product, retail experience and customer service at scale.

This push to grow the brand’s offerings and consumer touch points, even as dozens of new players in the mattress category spring up as challengers, is why Adweek is excited to have Casper’s CMO Jeff Brooks join the Challenger Brands Track, which features eight brand marketers who have disrupted their respective categories, at the inaugural Brandweek Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., September 23 to 25. Kristina Monllos, Adweek’s senior editor, brand marketing, caught up with Brooks to discuss Casper and his priorities for the brand.

We share three questions from their time together in the continuing On the Road to Brandweek interview series that will feature some of the absolutely stellar marketing executives set to speak. We’re excited to be on the road to Brandweek, and we hope you’ll join us.

"It’s important to seize opportunities that expand your business in the short term, but this must be balanced with investing in the future and planning ahead for the next wave of disruption."

Follow this link to learn more and register.

Adweek: Many of the direct-to-consumer brands start with one unique item and then end up adding much more to their offering. How do you do that while staying true to the brand? What makes now the right time to expand?

Jeff Brooks: Casper’s goal from day one was to bring better sleep to more people. We started with one universally comfortable mattress, but we knew there was more to achieving a great night’s sleep than the mattress alone. So we view it as intuitive to expand into adjacent categories that enable or promote better sleep. In addition to offering several mattresses, we now offer pillows, bedding, bedroom furniture and other accessories. We constantly challenge ourselves to raise the bar on all things sleep, and the pipeline has some very exciting initiatives underway.

The key for us in managing expansion is relatively simple. Everything we invent and make must address a real consumer need, be core to our vision of becoming the world’s first end-to-end sleep company and deliver on the brand’s origins of bringing simplicity, transparency and joy to a category that historically would not be characterized as such.

With that in mind, over the last year, there’s been a real focus on growth for brand marketers. How are you approaching growth? What tactics are you using other than product expansion?

Expanding the product portfolio is only part of the growth plan. We are equally focused on service design, creating new types of experiences for consumers that promote great sleep. Our recent launch of The Dreamery in NYC and our partnership with American Airlines are great examples of this.

Expanding our physical presence has also played a key role in our growth. Today we own and operate over 20 stores across the U.S. and Canada and have plans to aggressively scale the fleet over the next few years. This comes at a time when many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers in the category are shrinking their footprints. Additionally, our wholesale partnerships with brands like Target, Hudson’s Bay and Nordstrom, to name a few, are proving to be a terrific way to introduce our brand and products to new audiences.

What’s the biggest issue facing the CMO today?

The growth mandate is increasingly falling on the CMO in many organizations. This is certainly true for Casper, where marketing has played a significant role in the brand’s success to date. Our teams—from product to experience to tech—are constantly creating amazing products and services that nobody previously dreamed possible. But if we don’t have a clear and compelling strategy to reach and engage our customers and find new audiences, we can’t cross the finish line.

One of the biggest challenges many CMOs face is how to balance short- and long-term growth. It’s important to seize opportunities that expand your business in the short term, but this must be balanced with investing in the future and planning ahead for the next wave of disruption. Casper launched just over four years ago with one product in one market in one distribution channel. Today we have over 10 product categories, ship to nearly 10 countries and are truly omnichannel.

If we are going to create a brand that lasts for generations to come, we have to stay true to our roots of customer-centricity. Casper was originally conceived to address an unmet consumer need through an innovative, delightful product and service experience. That also turned out to be a pretty good business for us. This same spirit must remain our compass as we grow.

@jcoopernyc james.cooper@adweek.com James Cooper is editorial director of Adweek.