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Mattress Firm - Crisis Communications Campaign

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: Mattress Firm, Houston, TX
Company Description: Founded in 1986, Houston-based Mattress Firm is the nation’s largest specialty mattress retailer. With more than 3,000 stores across 49 states, Mattress Firm offers a broad selection of mattresses and bedding accessories from leading manufacturers and brand names, including Serta, Simmons, Dream Bed, tulo and Hampton & Rhodes.
Nomination Category: Communications & Marketing Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Crisis Communications

Nomination Title: Quick Crisis Response in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

In up to 525 words, tell the judges about the nominated campaign: its genesis, development, planning, commission, and performance to date:

Hurricane Harvey brought an unprecedented amount of rain, flooding and devastation to Southeast Texas, our hometown of Houston and the surrounding Gulf Coast. During the storm and in the aftermath, Mattress Firm has been committed to standing strong with the city we’ve called home for more than 30 years.

The company quickly organized a core team of about 16 executives from human resources, loss prevention, security, communications, operations, facility services, information technology and other areas in preparation of the storm’s aftermath. The crisis team, led by Sunni Goodman, Senior Vice President of Communications, worked with these leaders to determine the best communications channels to reach impacted employees.

By activating our crisis response team pre-disaster, we were able toprovide support to our employees and community as people prepared for this historic storm.Even while navigating the ongoing effects of the hurricane themselves, and without access to a control center as the company headquarters were being used as temporary shelter, these leaders were committed to ensuring Mattress Firm employees were safe and that our community had accurate information regarding our relief efforts.

The crisis response plan identified the store locations and roughly 950 employees in the path of the storm. Initially, the response team prioritized the safety of employees and conducted ongoing wellness checks with those who were in immediate need of shelter, as well as those who were expected to have substantial damage as the situation unfolded.

The crisis team also created an employee distribution list in order to send operational updates and opportunities to support fellow employees and community members who were impacted by the storm’s devastation. To ensure efficiency and alignment, disaster response templates were created for quick distribution as needed. The team also identified and coordinated opportunities for key stakeholders to support relief efforts, including traveling to impacted areas and gathering employee volunteers to assist with rebuilding.

Externally, a letter was published by company leadership on, The Daily Doze,” the company’s blog, detailing Mattress Firm’s relief efforts as well as our commitment to rebuilding our city.

Mattress Firm mobilized stores in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth and Central Texas as collection points for donations to help provide relief for victims. All stores were equipped to accept monetary donations to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The company also made a commitment to fulfill up to $1 million in product donations to victims of the storm.

Additionally, support was given to Harvey victims in the following donation drives:

-Partnered with Houston Furniture Bank to donate 2,777 mattresses and box springs sets.
-Co-hosted Houston Strong Furniture Drive, in partnership with the Houston. Furniture Bank to collect gently used furniture for families who lost everything
-Partnered with Houston Children’s Charity, Houston Astros shortstop, Carlos Correa and Serta Simmons Bedding to donate 950 mattress and box spring sets.

Recently, Mattress Firm partnered with Houston Furniture Bank to refurnish the home of a family whose belongings were destroyed when their house filled with 4 ft of water. As relief for Houstonians is still ongoing even more than a year after Harvey, Mattress Firm remains committed to supporting our hometown.

Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the team that created and carried out the nominated communications campaign (up to 125 words):

Sunni Goodman is Senior Vice President of Communications & Customer Experienceat Mattress Firm. She joined Mattress Firm in 2007, and her role oversees and provides strategic direction to the internal and external communications teams. Her focus includes media relations, public relations, company intranet, social media, charitable giving, employee communications, consumer research, customer experience, content marketing, executive communication, and community involvement. She serves as a board member on the Ticket to Dream Foundation,a non-profit that partners with Mattress Firm Foster Kids to provide hope and opportunity for foster children across the nation. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University and a masters from the University of Texas at Austin. She resides in Houston with her family.