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ARTICLE MarketingApril 27, 2017

How LUSH Cosmetics increases reach and sales with zero advertising spend

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At Seamless expo in Melbourne this May, LUSH Cosmetics Brand Communications Manager Natasha Ritz (above) will reveal what helps her, and LUSH, drive sales. We get a sneak peak here.

What does your job involve?

My main focus at LUSH is to build strategy with our Brand Communications team across public relations, social media, digital, ethical campaigning, charitable giving, design, creative, customer care and internal communications. As a team we work towards creating immersive brand experiences for our customers and staff.

I have a lot of fun. 

It sounds fun! What lead you to that position?

After school I started doing a business degree but didn’t enjoy it and managed to find my way into my family business in natural mineral cosmetics wholesale and distribution. Social media was just starting to boom and I built our brands through Facebook fan pages and built our websites. It was all trial and error but it worked. I loved working with a cruelty-free range of brands that were actually good for the skin and I knew where and how they were made.

I then moved to Sydney five years ago and first worked in a small fashion wholesaler – helping them build their eCommerce and social media presence on no budget at all – and then a digital marketing role in an agency.

What I realised throughout my career was that I loved makeup and cosmetics but I also loved to know how, where and who made the products I was selling. I was also really passionate about human rights – especially LGBTQI rights – and that’s when I found LUSH. A mix of all the things I’m passionate about: campaigning on social issues, transparent supply chains and beautiful, effective products!

What aspects of the work do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the campaigning the most, especially our Valentine’s campaigning and our partnership with Mardi Gras, which will be four years’ running in 2018. I love that we can work with events that are aligned with our values and also make people happy by pampering them and showing them we care.

I also love the people who work at LUSH. We are a family and are all passionate people who do want to change the world and we get to use LUSH as our vehicle for that. 

LUSH has a zero spend on advertising policy – how do you get the brand out there and increase reach?

This is something so unique to LUSH, most brands spend huge amounts above the line or if they don’t it’s because they’re a start-up.

At LUSH we believe it’s important to invest in our ingredients and hand make our cosmetics locally. We pay premiums for fair trade ingredients where possible and we only work with suppliers who pay fair wages and never test on animals. We don’t over-package our products; in fact we strive to make many products ‘Naked’ with no packaging at all. We want our customers to be paying for beautiful, effective ingredients in their handmade skincare, not endorsements or expensive advertising.

With the above being said our focus is to build relationships with people. We work on a PR basis, we use social media and we publish content across our websites to ensure we are sharing all of our stories. 

If you’re largely relying on organic reach, how do you create the sort of posts people would want to share?

Creating shareable content is trial and error. You just have to listen to your customers and how they are responding or engaging on content. If it works they’ll share it and then you can do more of that.

We’ve found over the last 20 years that people love to engage in a variety of content, from videos of bath bombs melting away through to ‘how it’s made’ videos. People love getting to see behind the scenes of the brand and that transparency builds trust, too. 

Do you feel transparency and an ethical framework are becoming more important in business?

We believe it’s an expectation our customers have. People want to know who is making their cosmetics, where they are made and exactly what’s in them. We also know that the more information we can provide the more our customers will be able to research all of the things they need to know before they decide to make a purchase.

Transparency of supply chains and business practices is absolutely key in this climate. Our stance on penalty rates was a clear indication of this and how our customers feel about our position of continuing to pay the same penalty rates we’ve always paid come July. We had hundreds of comments on our social media channels saying people will now come and shop with us because we pay people fairly. Transparency absolutely matters to our customers. 

Within the omnichannel smorgasbord of social media, which channels are currently the most effective for brand communications and marketing?

The channels that brands should be on should be specific to their customer base. Every brand and business is different and what works for one may not work for another. If you're a B2B, LinkedIn is the best place to be but if you’re B2C you have such a plethora of places your customers could be.

Each channel also offers a variety of ways to share a message and each channel has a unique tone that the customer expects. The key is to tailor your messaging to each demographic across each channel. It’s not always the right thing to pull the same content across every channel.

Trial and error is again the best way to find out what works for your brand and what resonates most with your customer base. 

Can you give us a sneak peak into what you’ll be talking about at Seamless?

At Seamless, I'll be looking at how internal staff engagement, through values-lead conversation, drives sales. 

Could you list a few marketing tips for our readers?

  1. Try, learn and adapt your content by listening to your customers on social media. How are they engaging?
  2. You don’t need to spend lots of money advertising to drive sales. Build content and build meaningful, lasting relationships that grow your business over time.
  3. Don’t give discounts often, as you’ll devalue your products or offering.
  4. Ask your staff and customers what they are passionate about and ensure their values are heard and acted upon.  

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