Social Media. Not so Lush anymore?
Why has one of the largest British cosmetic companies just announced that it’s shutting down its UK social media accounts?
Social media is an integral part of most of our daily lives
More than 3 billion people use some form of social (that’s over 40% of the current global population!), and brands are constantly on the lookout for new social strategies to help connect with customers, increase brand awareness and ultimately boost sales.
So, you might ask the question, why has one of the largest British cosmetic companies just announced that it’s shutting down its UK social media accounts?! Here’s the full statement from Lush:
"Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we don’t want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.
Lush has always been made up of many voices, and it’s time for all of them to be heard. We don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place, we want social to be placed back in the hands of our communities – from our founders to our friends.
We’re a community and we always have been. We believe we can make more noise using all of our voices across the globe because when we do we drive change, challenge norms and create a cosmetic revolution. We want social to be more about passions and less about likes."
This announcement follows a similar move from Wetherspoons, when little over a year ago they sacked off social in favour of communicating through the ‘spoons app and printed magazine. We wrote about the whole debacle here.
So what do our people make to this bold move from Lush? We chatted to our Insight & Strategy and Communications teams to get their thoughts:
Our Strategist, Lauren, said:
The main reason Lush is in a position to withdraw from owned social channels is because it has spent years curating an army of thousands of brand ambassadors, AKA “Lushies”. On top of this enviable army of loyal fans, Lush’s products are by design highly photogenic, lending themselves naturally to the likes of Instagram Stories – so they market themselves in a way.
Lush has said that in the absence of dedicated brand channels it will be ramping up its influencer strategies, meaning we can expect to see more blogger evenings, unboxing campaigns and behind the scenes content created than ever before. So even though Lush says it is ‘deleting’ its social presence, realistically, this is not the case.
The danger of all of this lies in other brands seeing this as a call to disarm themselves of their own social channels, without considering how the conversation about them (or lack of) will continue in their absence. The reality is that most brands need to fuel the conversation themselves and seed highly relevant, engaging content in their target audience’s feed. The only way to do that (without a huge shift in brand culture, customer experience, influencer strategy and some serious new product development) is through owned social channels.
Senior Comms Exec, Hannah, added:
The use of social by a company like Lush allows for two-way interaction between consumer and brand, meaning brands can get instant feedback and see public perception in real-time.
Inevitably, this interaction will sometimes include criticism, which can be constructed and viewed by thousands very quickly, thus reducing corporate control over brand image. However, it does also allow for the brand to reply in the public domain, altering perceptions from negative to positive and building meaningful relationships with the public. By removing its social accounts, Lush is not stopping online criticism (the public will still voice their opinion on their own personal channels!), but merely the chance to reply and resolve the situation. Lush has said the conversation will continue with the hashtag #LushCommunity… But you can’t participate in the conversation if you're not there!
I think it’s a brave move by Lush, and I’m interested to see what the brand will do now to reach out to new customers and continue to build its brand.
Insight Exec, Eleanor, thinks:
Lush, as a brand, has never played by the rules, but this does feel like a bit of a misstep from the beauty rebels to me. Social media has become integral to developing a brand’s personality and embedding a tone of voice. It also allows consumers, especially younger ones, to quickly contact or establish a relationship with a brand. As Lauren said, Lush will be ramping up the influencer content, and Hannah noted how the brand will be promoted through #LushCommunity… But it does still feel as though it is missing out on an opportunity to really connect with its audience and spread its message.
This might be a way of streamlining its social (they had a huge number of accounts), but beauty brands are increasingly reliant on social to build up a sense of community. If Lush wants to continue as a crusading, pioneering brand, it might have to rethink this strategy.
So there you have it. We’re interested to see what the future holds for Lush, whether this move will have a long-term impact on the brand, and if any other companies will follow suit. We’d love to hear your thoughts over at @imahomeglobal… If you’re still on social that is.