A little over a year ago, UK-based cosmetics brand Lush made a bold move – abandoning Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.

*GASP!* We feel the panic that inevitably set-in across the marketing team as they discover they now have to re-evaluate the brand strategy. The team will have to develop a new set of tactics to match the power social media provided in three core marketing areas: connection, interaction, and customer data.

So, why did Lush make this move? 

Brandi Halls, Lush Cosmetics chief ethics officer says,

“As a brand that puts the wellbeing of our staff and customers at the core of what we do, engaging on these platforms no longer aligned with who we are and where we should be.”

Commendable? Sure, stick to your brand values, listen to your customers, and take corresponding action. 

Is it risky to leave core social platforms – and by proxy seemingly ‘abandon’ those customers? Absolutely. 

But Lush is a multinational and multi-million-dollar brand. It can risk leaving social media because it can afford to pour resources into alternate marketing channels.

But what about when we get realistic on the level that small/medium size businesses and non-profits play at? They don’t have the same amount of resources as Lush does. The risk of leaving core social platforms carries more weight and failing is more detrimental.

When it comes to digital, it’s easy to be fooled by vanity metrics like impressions, likes, and follows. Knowing where not to be is as important as knowing where to be. 

So, how can you leverage your resources more effectively in the digital landscape?
Stop getting distracted and start getting strategic.

Here are some key factors we consider, evaluate, and answer when analyzing where the brand (or organization) we’re working with needs to be in the digital landscape – or where they don’t need to waste their efforts:

1. Evaluate Your Brand

Brand trust – built through transparency and authenticity – is more important than ever. Price used to be the key driver for Canadian consumers, but recent consumer insights show brand trust is closing the gap and becoming a pertinent factor in the current post-pandemic and economic context. 

“We want to explore new ways of reaching customers, beyond regular social channels and unhealthy algorithms,” says Lush’s creative director, Melody Morton. “We know we can capture a new audience by collaborating with brands and franchises, that people love and follow on unique innovative products.”

What are your brand’s key values? And where does your brand draw the line? Avoid sacrificing your values in the name of short-term gain. Consumers see right through that. Long-term gain comes from honouring your core values and missions. When done right, these values align with your customers’, and this builds brand loyalty and longevity. 


2. Understand Your Audience: Where are they emotionally and what do they want?

Consider the customer journey. Marketing is pain points, but it’s really about empathy. Think from the consumer’s perspective, sit in their seat; what is their emotional place when they come to you or need your service? What is the emotional connection? Knowing the consumer’s emotional state is a step toward deciding where and when you need to show up, and once you’re there, what you say. 

For example, consider a non-profit’s business model. Its goal is to fundraise and collect donations, but to achieve this, their audience needs to know what’s in it for them. A non-profit’s call-to-action (CTA) focuses on giving, so the obvious choice is to say something like, ‘Please Give.’ But how does this benefit the audience? A stronger CTA could read, ‘Be a Hero’. This focuses on the emotional outcome – that the donor will feel like a good person.


3. Define the Role Social Media Plays for Your Brand

Your brand needs some sort of social media presence. But that doesn’t mean you need to or should be on all platforms. Evaluate what need(s) social media fills for you in connecting with your audience and look at what it’s costing you in both money, time, and other resources. What are you working towards? How can you be more effective?

Lush revamped its strategy when it left Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. But that strategy was positioned to continue reaching its current audience plus attracting new audiences. It looked at this move as an investment. 

Lush knew the role these four giants played in their marketing mix and so they put in place new tactics to remedy the void that the move would leave. Some of these tactics included:

  • Doubling down on PR to keep its brand awareness from falling,
  • Ramping up influencer marketing by partnering with more Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to stay relevant with their community,
  • Adding a live chat feature to their website and increasing support staff to replace the role social played in customer service, and
  • Shifting their digital focus to Pinterest and YouTube. Lush saw these platforms attempting to address problems like those that Meta faced while being viable channels to reach current and new audiences.

Strategy director at WhiteGrey, Maya Mausli, says,

“There should be questions raised immediately about the brand strategy if the brand can’t survive without it,” says Mausli. “The more interesting way to frame the question potentially is what part of the business and brand suffers without social? It all comes back to what the brand was aiming to achieve on social.” 

To Recap:

These three guiding factors help you assess where your brand should and should not be in the digital landscape:

  • Evaluate your brand values
  • Understand your audience emotionally, and
  • Define the role social media plays for your brand.

Use these factors as a conversation starter for a creative and tactical brainstorming session. 

What will your marketing team come up with?

Let us help you with your digital strategy. We’d love to work with you! Send us a message today to get started.