Why brands such as Lush and Vans are moving beyond advertising

Advertising and marketing has always gone hand in hand. But today, for some brands, this seems to have shifted. Lush Cosmetics, for instance, has a policy against paid advertising. Instead, the company is going big on customer experience.

The company, which was founded in 1995 as Cosmetic House, in fact got its new name through a competition. Its commitment to involve communities has not wavered since. Speaking to event organisers at Backstage Pass by Peatix, a spokesperson from Lush PR and marketing said that since then, the company has been getting customers' feedback to help with its product development. It also releases a new product each month that only gets adapted to international crowds if customers like it.

It also no longer conducts events that are exclusive for press or influencers. For example, customers and staff were also invited to the grand opening of Lush's new Raffles City outlet, which saw great responses from fans who wanted to get a first look. She said:

It has been a strategy from the start to focus on word-of-mouth marketing.

"When we create events, we want to make sure that it’s really immersive with different activities that people can participate in and take photographs of," the spokesperson added. "People are definitely going to share it with their friends and family if you give a really good experience and quality products."

Over in the United Kingdom, Lush has announced that it will be bidding farewell to some of its social channels to engage with customers in other ways. Its Facebook post shared that changing algorithms have been making it harder for the company to talk to customers directly and it does not "want to pay to appear in [their] newsfeed."

Strong brand association

The event for also shone the spotlight on the Vans brand, which was built on a strong association to creative expression. Known for its sticky soles, Vans has been popular with the skateboarding and snowboarding communities for decades.

Additionally, Vans provides local artistes the opportunity through its "Musicians Wanted Asia" programme to showcase their music for a chance to take the stage during the House of Vans Asia Tour. Through its Custom Culture initiative, Vans also invites people of all ages to submit their own Vans design. The winning design gets to be released to the market.

Vans marketing manager, Singapore and Malaysia, Elijah Kislevitz said, "Vans isn’t a technological shoe, but it has a lot of culture and heritage."

Keeping in line with its avant-garde brand image, Vans has been holding pop-ups at eclectic locations in Singapore. This include historical spots at Beach Road and Tangs building, as well as artistic street Haji lane.

Meanwhile, Lush has been associated by fans as a proponent of good causes such animal, environmental and human welfare. Standing by its ethical principles, Lush always keeps a watch on trends and looks to join in conversations where they can to raise awareness about various issues. It is also not afraid to make its stand. The spokesperson added, “Prepare to be damned - that’s one of the key statements. People may support it or we may have people that may have different viewpoints. But we are always prepared to have a conversations about what opinions you have about different issues."

(Photo courtesy of Lush and Vans)