What Lush has achieved by being unapologetically authentic

Ever committed to the eco cause, Lush routinely discounts only what is left of its Christmas stock in-store, rather than create excess product that might go to waste.

This year it did also extend its discounting to online, but only while stocks lasted. But rather than suffer at the hands of critics, bemoaning the short supply of online bargains, the brand has continued to trade well and remain a High Street draw for shoppers who value their authenticity.  

Liverpool recently became home to the world's largest Lush store and Manchester saw the brand go ‘naked’, or completely plastic free, both generating large amounts of positive publicity for the brand.

We listened to the online conversation about Lush to see how they communicate, who they communicate to, and how this message lands.

Socially local
Maintaining bricks and mortar business is essential to Lush’s success. Walk past any Lush store on the high street and you will know that the smell and experience of Lush is inherently physical. From the scents, to the colourful products, and limited packaging, shoppers’ senses are engaged.

Lush is one of only a handful of retailers who have successfully embraced local social media handles. This works for Lush because of their ethos of environmentally friendly, vegan, and natural products. This appeals locally as it allows those who want to connect with like-minded individuals or perhaps politically, to organise for change.

Local social accounts also enable customers to connect with their local store around stock availability, especially important given that the brand is passionate about not over-producing product.

When we look at the conversation online we can see individual stores feature as do phrases around plastic and packaging.

lush-cambridge

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You can’t please everyone
Lush are often rebellious and revolutionary. They don’t always make popular decisions and are unafraid to stand by principle. Despite unorthodox approaches to discounts or provocative marketing campaigns, the brand does not really fall victim to negative sentiment.

The brand does not attempt to please everyone, but rather stay authentic to themselves and what their customers expect and want from them.  In fact, despite a limited online sale, their sentiment through January stays high, with less than 25% of conversations scoring as negative for the brand.

The Maybe* ‘How they feel’ graph demonstrating whether Next’s conversations are positive or negative.

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Loud & proud
In the conversation aboutLush , they themselves appear as the most influential voice. We can see this from the Maybe* visual which positions Lush with the largest dot. This means that not only does the brand create a lot of content, but it’s clearly relevant to their audience. Content is readily shared, commented upon or liked which creates more visibility for the brand and its message.

In addition, the conversation about Lush also contains retail experts and lifestyle thought leaders likeBritish Vogue  and Dazed. Lush’s influence and influencers are as mainstream as they are niche, all of whom are then sharing the Lush message.

Those that like Lush, really like Lush. The brand knows this and is confident in its ability to appeal to a demographic that believes in the same things it does. By focusing on what is true to them they enjoy the successes of what it means to be authentically Lush, as does the High Street, which smells all the better for it.

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