I recently attended Mattress Firm’s Bed Talks 16 and I’m not sure where to start except to say that Corey Ludens and his team are rock stars in my opinion. They did an amazing job on every detail of this conference.
We arrive in San Antonio to the JW Marriott (terrific property), to a mariachi band welcome and beautiful lunch buffet, so right from the beginning I was impressed. That night there was a reception at Knibbe Ranch where we heard a great welcome message from Steve Stagner, Buck the cowboy took us through the history of Texas, and then Ken Murphy, who really got the crowd worked up barely escaping several fires on stage. (To hear more about that listen to the Sleep Geek podcast Mark Kinsley and I recorded about the entire Bed Talks 16 event.)
It wasn’t just the pageantry of it all, these guys delivered some great content. We heard from some people at the corporate office about their new merchandising programs, company policies, vision for the future etc. But we also heard from some in the field as they told personal stories that inspired us, entertained us, and brought us to tears.
Here were my three big takeaways from the event:
1. If you say you care about your people then step up and invest in them. Mattress Firm has clearly done that by bringing in over 1,200 people to experience Bed Talks in person. Most of these people earned there way by meeting sales/operational goals, and some were there simply to be honored for the success they have achieved in the past year. It would be easy to fill up the agenda focused only on boring details about company procedures, but this was different. It was very obvious that many of the speakers were there to teach the team about leadership principals that would help the audience navigate the business, and inspire them to drive harder on their personal life as well. Happier employees = happier customers. Makes sense to me.
2. Mattress Firm really did shine a light on some of their problems. They talked about not having enough women involved in the organization and how their new LeadHERship program was going to help that. They talked about how they have too many stores, largely due to their aggressive acquisition strategy and the problem that was causing some of the rsa’s working those lower volume stores. They said they need to reduce store counts but in the mean time, they bumped up compensation in those stores to help their people earn a better living and in some cases they doubled and tripled the pay. This one got a standing ovation can you believe that? I actually think it was Jody Putnam and his delivery of the message that they were loving. 🙂
3. MFRM Nation really does understand delivering a brand experience. A company brand is so much more than the logo on the building. The people in your company, the real ambassadors of your brand, have to be lined up with you and your culture if they are going to be that touch point for the consumer. At the end of the day THEY ARE YOUR BRAND so how are you getting your people excited to carry forward what you want YOUR brand experience to be? How do you inspire your team? How do you get them to feel good about what you are doing and where you are going?
MFRM also talked about the importance of their 10,000 employees, what it means to be #1, giving their front line the resources to succeed, and believing the idea that by 2020 they will be a $7 billion company by focusing on culture, company, and community.
You need to listen the aforementioned podcast to get some more of the details but I will tell you that the week was incredible. Without a doubt, my favorite part was the GIVE BIG day where everyone at the conference built bikes, made blankets and created college welcome kits, all for their foster kids program Ticket To Dream. If you have not heard about this program you need to check it out for yourself because they are working miracles for kids every day and it was awesome to get to be a part of it during the conference. Get involved if you can!
Thank you to everyone at MFRM Nation for a great experience. It made a HUGE impact on me. Well done!