If you think about it for a minute, few business leader categories are more interesting to watch than beauty products. Sure…take your full minute.
Skeptical? Well, consider these points:
- In a period of disruption in retail, many traditional beauty retail models are doing well. Retailers such as Ulta and Sephora have ridden impressive growth, showing the strength of being both a retailer and a producer in today’s economy.
- The elder stateswomen of multi-level marketing companies include stalwart brands Avon and Mary Kay. However, a resurgence of MLM culture has inspired new competitors such as Younique, Beauty Counter and Rodan + Fields. Five of the Top 10 multi-level marketing companies are beauty brands.
- While other categories of consumer products struggle with shifting values, women’s beauty products are ahead of the curve – offering environmentally aware, body-positive, animal-safe, fair-trade and sustainably-produced merchandise.
- The beauty category is an innovative space where business leaders large and small take chances, listen to customers, as well as embrace new and disruptive tools to connect with customers in novel and exciting ways.
Let’s take a look at Cult Brand Honouree, Lush.
This UK-based company focuses on their beliefs and values as a way to do business, not as a marketing positioning statement. As brands, like Unilever’s Dove, have shifted their brand positioning to better align with a changing customer, Lush has been in that space since their beginning.
Lush is a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously. They have fun and take chances, as this recent Valentine’s Day bath bomb product line shows. Lush products are playful and experiential, and the brand often rotates features – like scents and colours – giving their customers fresh ways to pamper themselves. That’s one reason for their brand appeal: customers know Lush will always have something new to try.
And the brand will show you how to try the products. Lush provides helpful content for customers, including a section on their web site called Stories. Stories provides information on a variety of topics, from “How to choose your face mask,” to “What’s a shower bomb?”
While Lush is driven to meet the high expectations they’ve outlined in their brand promise, they aren’t self-righteous about it. This is demonstrated by the tone of their marketing efforts. Lush is committed to avoiding animal testing, and they have made establishing cruelty-free business practices a priority. In 2012, the brand debuted the Lush Prize, awarding £250,000 in prize funding to researchers, scientists and lobbyists who support animal-free initiatives.
Another way Lush has illustrated their cult brand chops is by embracing Cult Brand Principle #3: Inspire from the Inside Out. Lush understands the power of frontline employees and how important it is to educate and motivate their team. The result: frontline workers who are brand evangelists. Lush continuously improves their internal communications and in-store experience, in an effort to increase engagement and reduce enablement costs.
The great news is, there’s still time to register to join us at The Gathering, an annual coming together of the world’s best brands, slated to take place in Banff, Alberta, February 20-22. There, you’ll learn from Cult Brand Honourees – like Lush – and get a behind the scenes look at how they built and remain a cult brand. Join the world’s most coveted brands and leaders, and learn from trailblazers who are reaping the rewards of brand loyalty.