Our Stance: April II
Welcome to your next installment of Our Stance, an irregular - but hopefully welcome - insight into the views of the Strategy and Insight Team. Do give us a shout if there’s anything you’re keen to hear more about. Or if we’ve said something you disagree with. We love a wee fight.
This isn't the end, it's just the start of something new?
by Hannah Buchan and Maddy Sim
Last week Lush announced they were ‘switching up social’. The lovely Hannah, Account Manager at iProspect, suggested we have our say – and so this week you’ve been treated to a guest post.
I think this is a bizarre move from a company already struggling with its brand image post that “Anti-Spy Cops” campaign. Perhaps their lifelong fans will be happy to engage with Lush on their owned platforms, but as someone who hasn’t bought anything from them since some bath bombs in 2005, I can’t see myself actively hunting them down on these platforms, particularly when one has “Access by Invitation Only” blazoned on the homepage.
Now that I can’t get hold of Stylist magazine weekly, and GlamourMagazine.co.uk has gone completely down the pan, I rely on Instagram for new product launches, and on blogs from the few that I follow on BlogLovin. If influencers can no longer @Lush in their posts & stories, even if the products weren’t gifted or a paid partnership, then I’m highly unlikely to go track down a product on another platform, or trawl through their website. I don’t follow that many brands on Instagram, but those that I do have been introduced to me through other people on Instagram. Perhaps some of this was paid for, but not at a huge cost.
With Instagram launching Shopping on Instagram, it seems like a missed opportunity for Lush not to be in this space. They will be missing out on a huge potential new audience, and with so many consumers ditching the single-use plastic, Lush are the brand people should be turning to. They’ve been ahead of the sustainability curve for years, with around half their products having no packaging. But if they aren’t using organic social media well, with sharable and exciting content, then I’m sure someone else will pop along and be the poster brand for sustainable beauty.
I love the ‘I’m leaving social media’ social media post. From friends, you can usually count on them about 2 months after a break-up. They’re often followed by some ‘u ok huns’, and then a triumphant return a few months later (hiya Moira).
You don’t usually get them from brands, so in that regard Lush is a trendsetter. This time, there was a distinct lack of ‘u ok huns’. In fact, many were quick to pile on the brand. Since the Lush #paidtolie campaign, an oddly incongruous campaign about undercover police, there’s a general feeling that Lush just isn’t getting it right. Their (fairly dramatic) exit post (‘This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new’) seemed another step in that direction.
I’d posit that it might have worked had it come from another brand, one without a recent social backlash. Social media isn’t exactly steeped in positive coverage right now, so a brand that distances itself from the social flogging of wares might expect a pat on the back. It’s not just the privacy scandals – it’s the endless scrolling of influencer content, sponsored posts, unachievable imagery and trolling.
However, here’s where Lush’s strategy doesn’t make sense to me. They might be shutting down their owned handles and profiles, but instead they’re focusing on influencer marketing, under #LushCommunity. By doing so, they’re removing one of the most useful functions of social media – publicly shaming a brand into fielding your complaint – but doubling down on using it as a promotional vehicle.
So I’m siding with the angry(ish) hordes here. Doesn’t feel like the best of moves.
A note on social media. And my need for a Fleabag fix
by Maddy Sim
Now, publicly shaming brands isn’t the only useful function social media offers. I was reminded of the true magic of social last week and I offer it up here as a counter-balance to my usual negativity. As the final episode of Fleabag drew to a close last week I was left, slightly stunned and desolate, to turn to Twitter.
I fell down a Twitter #fleabag hole. The watercooler of today, but with the bonus feature of being able to skip the weather-and-weekend based office chat and get straight to the topic at hand. I was fed additional content (anything Phoebe Waller-Bridge makes my heart skip), I rewatched the best bits, and – of course – got everyone’s opinion on whether or not you should fancy the priest.
I don’t always bang the drum for social media, but last Monday I couldn’t get enough.
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