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By Thomas Hobbs, Journalist

March 25, 2020 | 3 min read

Marketers should stop describing their brands as “digital businesses”, according to Cheryl Calverley, the chief marketing officer at online sleep wellness brand Eve Sleep.

According to Calverley, advertisers have become too distracted by flashy terminology over recent years. “We’re all far too fixated on saying we’re digital businesses,” she explained in an interview during The Drum’s Digital Transformation Festival.

“It frustrates me a lot. Do you really think [execs] used to say [they ran] a ‘pen and paper businesses’ or ‘knock on doors businesses’ before digital was around? Digital is just the mechanism of delivering business in this age. It shouldn’t be the only thing your [brand] is defined by.”

She adds: “If it is, then that isn’t a good sign. A hundred years ago you would have a market stall, but now you have a website. That’s just the most effective tool.

"The reason we sell directly to consumers online is because it is the most efficient way to deal with them, and it is never to be gimmicky. Brands that don’t do it properly get found out.”

Over recent years, the sleep wellness retailer has strengthened its position after launching successful campaigns which included lobbying the UK parliament to make good sleep a human right as well as an innovative series of night time ads on Channel 4 to mark World Sleep Day. And Calverley believes other brands have naturally “jumped on the bandwagon”.

“We’re now five years old and we’ve gone from selling mattresses to selling a whole range of bedroom products,” she says. “The sleep economy is huge and keeps growing and we recognised pretty quickly that being a sleep wellness brand is an important distinction.

“We’ve seen a lot of competitors jumping on the bandwagon. John Lewis and Ikea have done big campaigns around sleep wellness. Right now we’re in three markets, but in five years time I’d like us to grow into the biggest sleep wellness business in Europe.”

However, Calverely insisted these lofty ambitions won’t be achieved unless everything Eve Sleep does is underpinned by great marketing. She concluded: “We want to develop well-rounded marketers and business people. We don’t want to fall into the trap of having campaigns with hollow subject matter.

“To be a great business you have to help people understand how you can enrich their lives and everything we do is about showing how their sleep can be changed for the better. We’re very keen on maintaining the massive amounts of energy and creativity that run through our business, particularly on the marketing side, over the coming years.”

You can watch the full interview with Calverely above and view more content from The Drum's Digital Transformation Festival here.

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