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Marketing without Marketing

2 min read

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Can deafening silence be as effective as blaring noise?

This week, beauty retailer Lush announced they would no longer maintain a presence on social media. They deactivated social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook (or is it Meta?), TikTok, and Snapchat.

Why? In co-founder Mark Constantine's words, "I'm not willing to expose my customers to this harm, so it's time to take it out of the mix."

The brand argues that social media has demonstrable adverse effects on social and political cohesion and the health of its users — which is true.

So Lush took a selfless moral stand, right? Perhaps. Perhaps there is also a business case to make this change.

If I were to politely describe many people's attitudes toward social media in 2021, I might say they were 'fed up.' Many of us are tired of viewing the world through this addictive and often misleading lens. What if Lush, a brand big enough to make a splash with a press release, sees their opposition to social media as good marketing?

Let's consider the facts. A brand with no social media needs no social media managers. Those resources can go toward improving other marketing channels that might have equal or better ROI. Lush recently placed second overall in a UK survey of brands with the best customer experience. This might be a way for them to redouble their focus on point-of-sale satisfaction.

Social media's instant content often comes with instant backlash: how often in the past decade have brands gotten themselves in hot water over a misguided tweet or Facebook post? Maybe Lush values mitigation of risk, mainly as these platforms come under increased legal scrutiny.

Finally, and most critically, for a brand that has always relied on social causes as a selling feature (no animal testing, purity and safety of ingredients), this change may simply align with how their customers feel already.

It will be curious to see how much loyalty Lush can buy with their anti-social media stance. For many brands, social media is essential. Can we be proved otherwise?

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