The CMO Show:
The CMO Show: The organic...

How do you get your story out there with zero external advertising spend? Natasha Ritz, Brand Communications Manager at Lush Cosmetics shares how they created an army of loyal brand advocates championing company purpose and creating organic growth.

Thousands of posts hit Facebook every second, and the Explore Feed may soon reduce organic reach to a thing of the past. So how can companies dominate social media without a massive marketing spend?  

Maybe you should ask your people. Lush Cosmetics has harnessed organic reach and growth through an internal strategy – creating brand advocates out of their in-store staff.

“We’ve got internal brand advocates, which are our staff, and they are our customers too,” says Natasha Ritz, Brand Communications Manager ANZ for Lush Cosmetics.

“They buy our product and we help service them as a communications department to know what other great messages they can be sharing. And then they create brand advocates on the shop floor by sharing those messages and pampering people and making them feel really good about coming in,” says Natasha.

Founded in 1995 by a team of 6 activists, Lush Cosmetics advocates on a number of global issues, namely animal, human, and environmental rights. Along the way they’ve sold ethically sourced cosmetics, bath bombs, and soap products. Their ANZ business is worth $70 million dollars alone.

Lush have accomplished this regardless of a global ‘no advertising spend’ policy.

“We don’t advertise above or below the line. We don’t spend money on TV campaigns, on celebrity endorsement. We don’t promote social media posts. So everything we do is organic. Every Facebook post is organic. We have no budget to push behind it,” says Natasha.

Organic reach is a tricky business, but Lush remains committed to their strategy. A strong, dedicated online following means Lush has 122,000 followers and their posts have an organic reach on Facebook of 10,000-600,000.

How do they get so much exposure without paid behind them? The secret, according to Natasha, is bums. Or more technically, user generated content.

“People like to take pictures of [our products] in their shower. We get lots of nude butts … shared. People love it,” says Natasha.

“Bums make impact. It creates an opportunity for creativity. And it means that we invest in things that are more important, like our ingredients and our supply chain and where we source things from. And our people,” she says.

Lush’s purpose as advocates resonates with the tech savvy generation Z, who respect the company’s values around transparency in their supply chain, and the investment into where they source their products.

Listen to hosts Nicole Manktelow and Mark Jones uncover how this 20-year old company has leveraged its cultural authenticity to create loyal audiences. It’s bums on seats for this episode of the CMO Show (pun intended).

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The CMO Show production team

Producers – Candice Witton & Ewan Miller

Audio Engineers – Jonny McNeeDaniel Marr & Tom Henderson

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Hosts: Mark Jones and Nicole Manktelow

Guest: Natasha Ritz

NM: Mark, do you feel like your life has purpose?

MJ: It really does, but I also love talking about purpose.

NM: And brand purpose.

MJ: Brand purpose.

NM: Ah look, what an obvious intro here.

MJ: That’s such an obvious. Yeah so thank you for joining us on the CMO Show, where we talk about things like purpose. My name is Mark Jones.

NM: I’m Nicole Manktelow.

MJ: And our fabulous guest today is Natasha Ritz, Brand Communications Manager at Lush.

NM: Now this is a company that’s been around for 20 years. Started by a bunch of activists. Still campaigning on a range of issues. Somehow they managed to sell a few cosmetics. Like a few.

MJ: Yeah, like and then some.

MJ: What would you say they’re known best for? I think bath bombs.

NM: Definitely bath bombs and soap. It’s one of those places that when you walk past it in the mall you smell it before you get there. The aromas are very very strong and very particular.

MJ: Yeah, which counts me out as a target audience.

NM: Yeah you’re not the target I don’t think.

MJ: However I’m very keen to find out in our conversation connecting the brand’s purpose and mission and vision with their retail operations.

MJ: And then also how do they give back? How do they make good on that?

NM: Oh putting your money where your mouth is.

MJ: Right, isn’t that the idea of doing a good thing? Purpose?

NM: Let’s find out.

MJ: Yes, let’s have a chat with Natasha.

MJ: Lush Cosmetics is our special brand in focus today. And thanks for joining us, Natasha Ritz, brand communications manager at Lush Cosmetics.

NR: Thank you for having me.

NM: Natasha, Lush, just for people who aren’t in the know, 20-year-old company, started in the U.K. by an activist. Well actually a couple of activists, I believe.

NR: Yes.  So the founders are still in the business, there is about six of them. And they are all different types of activists. So we have animal activists, environmental sustainability activists, or climate change activists, and human rights activists as well. So it’s really part of the core of who we are and how we chose to behave as a business.

NM: So those are the fundamentals of the company, for all of those years, and you’re still campaigning on issues even today. Somewhere along the way you managed to sell a few products?

NR: Yes!

NM: Mostly soaps, cosmetics, bath bombs, that sort of thing?

NR: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, we campaign on all those different areas as part of what we do and how we use our platforms for social change. And we find that, you know, the sales of our products is a by-product of that. So, we sell bath bombs and we hand-make locally in Sydney; we have nine kitchens globally where we hand-make all of our products. So, every bath bomb you see is hand-pressed by a person, and every gift you see is hand-wrapped and bow-tied by a human, and it makes a really big difference to adding value to our customers’ lives and people’s lives, and I think that’s why the product sells really well. We’ve seen great figures after campaigning and things like that.

NM: Well this is something. The sales aren’t small; $70 million annual turnover, 950 stores around the world. So you’re selling a little bit on the side aren’t you?

NR: Yeah. So that turnover’s just Australia and New Zealand, so our global turnover, I’m not sure what it is, but it would be significantly larger.

MJ: So, tell us about your role, because I’m fascinated by the story, the brand story and the purpose. And how you interpret that, and use that in the context of marketing.

NR: Yeah, so my role covers the broad scope of marketing, so everything from digital communications, social media, eDM database, that sort of thing, our website. Everything from customer experience in stores, the call centre that we have,, graphic design, event management, and public relations. And we also have our Charity Pot, which is our charity programme, and our ethical campaigning, all within brand communications.

MJ: Do you sleep?

NR: Yes.

MJ: You do?

NR: I do, I have a fantastic team who do all of the amazing things and I’m very strategic and very smart. It’s all about who you hire, right?

MJ: Ah, didn’t doubt it for a second. It’s just a very impressive list, and I think the big story of course is how all of those tools and  things come together.

NR: Yeah, absolutely. So, it’s all about brainstorming. Lush is a very collaborative culture, so whenever we come together around brainstorming a concept, or looking at how we would campaign on a specific issue … The most recent one for us would be marriage equality, and the LGBTQI campaigning we’ve been doing for many years globally, but locally as well, since it’s such a huge issue here. And we brainstorm on how we are gonna use our platforms, how we will use our windows, what kind of social  activations we can do in stores to get people taking photos, how we’re gonna engage the media to talk about this in a really unique way or ask other corporates to come on board and behave in the same way or support issues in the same way.

NR: So in the same way that we campaign pretty lightly on penalty rates. When that change happened we went out to the media and to our staff and said, “We won’t be cutting penalty rates. You will continue indefinitely to be paid the same as you always have.”  And that’s the right thing to do. And we asked other corporates to come on board and do the same thing, and there was some really good results from that.

NR: So it’s just about how we use that messaging and how we choose to use our platforms and integrate all of those platforms together to make sure it’s really streamlined and that customer understands why we’re choosing to talk about those messages and not just put a bath bomb in the window or something like that.

MJ: I think the interesting thing I imagine people would be wondering is what comes first, advocacy or product development?

NR: Well they can go hand in hand I think sometimes. But the product development all comes from the UK. So we have inventors, and they invent stuff all the time. And it can be invention that’s created through their own inspirations. So our founders are still part of the business and they are innovating and creating all the time. Especially around things like environmental sustainability and having no packaging, or what we call naked products. So our whole Christmas is around  naked products, and for every packaged product they were tasked with creating one that was naked to match it. So all of our shower gels have naked shower gels to go with them this year.

NR: We’ve got these really unique ways of innovating that impact people and the Earth as well.

MJ: Sorry I have to ask, how do you have naked shower gel? What does that look like?

NM: I’m assuming it’s still in a container of some sort.

NR: No, it is not.

MJ: I mean it’s systematically appropriate right? Even the context but …

NR: Yes. Well firstly, you get naked to use it which is the most important thing. No it’s basically shaped like a shower gel, but it is … And they’re all different colours and obviously all different smells, but it basically has a really unique base to it which gives you a really beautiful lather and it makes your skin feel really moisturised, so it has kind of a different base to soap. It’s a solid.

NM: So it’s solid? A solid block?

NR: It’s a solid block.

MJ: Ah there you go.

NR: Yeah but it’s shaped like a shower gel. So it looks really cute and people like to take pictures of it in their shower. So  that’s what you get.

NM: Presumably with a nude arm here or there.

NR: Yes, more than a nude arm, we get lots of nude butts is the thing that we get shared. People love it.

MJ: Yeah social, you’ve gotta love it.

NR: Gotta love it. Yeah so the invention or innovation or that sort of arm is all done through the UK and we’re lucky to be able to locally manufacture all those inventions here. Our factory’s out in Villawood in Sydney. And then in terms of the advocacy we really choose what to focus on in terms of the local issues and the local climate, so we’ll only choose to act when something’s really topical and right for change.

NR: So you know for example when the issues were popping up a lot about people seeking asylum and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. And that was being really talked about in the media. It was a time to talk about that story and see if we could make some social change or change the conversation around what it is to be a refugee and who these people are, and give them a face and a platform to tell their story. And so we were able to have images of some of the Manus Island refugees in our windows, Amir was one of the men who was in our windows and we told a story about him, and he wants to be a human rights lawyer, and he’s just like us. He’s 23, why shouldn’t we be able to bring them here?

NR: So the reason that we choose the topics we work on is always around the three key pillars that we have, around animals, humans and the environment, that’s always about what’s topical in the current local climate.

MJ: How do you balance I guess the human dignity aspect of bringing on somebody like that? So you want to make sure they’re not being exploited themselves from a commercial perspective.

NR: Absolutely, that’s a really good question. So we work with different campaigning groups and different experts to make sure that we’re doing the right thing. We learn from experts and we make sure that any content that we’re using or any person that we’re able to work with or interview wants to be part of the process, they’ve chosen to be. They want their voice heard.  And we make sure that it’s actually a good choice for them in terms of their own legal rights and that sort of thing. So yeah, there’s a big process that we would go through with the different groups that we work with, like Get Up! to make sure that it’s the right kind of conversation, the right story, and that it is good for them to be doing that as well.

NM: Can you explain your no ads policy?

NR: Yes. So we have a no global advertising policy and basically what that means is we don’t advertise above or below the line. So we don’t spend money on TV campaigns, on celebrity endorsement. We don’t promote social media posts. So everything we do is organic. So every Facebook post is organic. We have no budget to push behind it.

NM: So this is where the bums are coming in handy now.

NR: Exactly, this is where you need bums. Bums make impact. So yeah it creates an opportunity for creativity. People are more creative when they’ve got no money. And it also means that we invest in things that are more important, like our ingredients and our supply chain and where we source things from. And our people.

NM: And how do you get your increasing reach and sales that everybody’s looking for? How do you do it?

NR: I think it’s about slow, organic growth. So we haven’t just peaked. It’s been really slow, built momentum over many years.  And building trust with customers so they know what to expect and the level of service to expect in store and online, and the kind of conversations they can have with us as a brand. And it’s about being really transparent and creating brand advocates. We’ve got internal brand advocates which are our staff. And they are our customers too, you know, they buy our product and we help service them as a communications department to know what other great messages they can be sharing.  And then they create brand advocates on the shop floor by sharing those messages and pampering people and making them feel really good about coming in. So it’s just a slow process. Like Lush is not an overnight success, it’s been 20 years of a hard slog of really pampering people, making them feel great, buying in the right way, training people the right way, creating the right campaigns. It’s been a long, hard slog.

NM: When you say that  I’m imagining a customer of a certain age who’s seen some of this progress, but in fact when I go past the stores I see some pretty young customers in there. And I think those on the social networks are pretty young as well. So how do you describe your success with the younger generation?

NR: So the younger generation are amazing We’ve got gen Z who are so passionate and  environmentally aware, and they’re digital natives. And so they have had access to information and the internet … They were born into it. So they don’t know any different and actually what they expect from brands is more. They expect you to be transparent about who you are, what your story is, where you buy your ingredients, who makes them, how they’re made. They want to know all the information and they can access the information. And so who they choose to purchase from isa really delicate choice for them, and we really respect that.

NR: And what we’re finding with the younger generation is that they love to collect. Once they know who we are and how we function and how we can support them as well, they feel safe at Lush and then they come and they collect their bath bombs and that sort of thing. And they have parties.

MJ: So it’s advocacy marketing, repeat business through word of mouth.

NR: Exactly, exactly.

MJ: How do you encourage your customers, getting back to the social thing, how do you encourage them to spread that message, that word of mouth message that you’ve got, given that Facebook and Google are trending towards zero when it comes to organic reach? You’re a brand so therefore you’re competing with every other brand out there. They want you to spend money. How are you gonna deal with that in the future?

NR: Your story’s just gonna cut through. So the story’s gotta be good enough to want to engage, and it’s a test and learn strategy, you never get it right. And the landscape’s forever changing. So you have to try something and it may work for months in a row, and then it may not anymore. So you’ve got to evolve and change with the digital landscape as it changes. Or change with the conversation. If the shift on a political issue is changing then we too need to look at how we adapt and change that. But you know on average we’re having an organic reach on Facebook of anywhere from 10,000 to 600,000. We have 122,000 followers on Facebook, so our reach varies in between those large gaps, but that’s what happens when it’s organic.

NR: But that’s also the best way to be I think, because when you are organic, what you’re doing is creating true brand advocates. You’re not pushing a message out to people who may or may not want to see it. You’re pushing a message out and communicating one to one with people who are already interested and passionate about what you’re talking about.

MJ: I love your comment that the story’s gotta cut through. I mean we’re big on brand storytelling here right.

MJ: But how do you figure out what story cuts through? What’s the analytics, the research that you bring to optimising your messages?

NR: Whenever I have been doing talks and that sort of thing, everybody performing talks data. And then I go and talk about stories. And I think the way that we cut through is that our stories are about real people, and they’re about our staff. All of our staff are the only people we use in our windows, in our marketing, in our social. We don’t Photoshop people. We get our staff involved in the things they want to be involved in and so I guess what it does is it creates an authentic brand story and an authentic  position that people resonate with. And therefore choose to be interested in.

NR: And you know we’ve got a really strong PR strategy and we’ve got lots of great relationships in the media. And when they’re passionate about our story or our choices as a business, they too share that information for us, and that’s really helpful to get those messages out as well.

NM: How do you do the internal comms, between say your inventor crew, your original company founders, and the rest of the organisation? So when there is an issue that’s becoming topical and they’re considering is now the right time to do something, say something. How do they do that? Do you just get an email that says, “Right folks, we care about this. Off you go.”?

NR: Yeah it’s a bit of a mix to be honest. So Hilary Jones is our ethical director in the UK, and everybody can access her at any time if they would like to sort of pitch an issue. Or if it’s really obvious,  like it’s the global refugee crisis at the moment, then we can decide as a business to jump on that. Or behave in a way that is really helpful, so provide tents for people living in refugee camps or things like that. Or provide really clear funding. So there’s a couple of ways that we can support an issue, but in terms of large global campaigns, one of the last things we did was Gay Is Okay, which was all about It’s illegal to be gay in still 74 countries globally.

NM: That’s astonishing.

NR: Yeah it is astonishing. So not only is marriage equality an issue in Australia, but globally there’s actually massive criminal issues around your sexuality. So that was something that we decided was a really big issue for the business, and we i think raised something like £295,000 globally for All Out, which was our campaigning partner.

NR: So yeah, we decide when an issue will fit the whole world, but most of the time in the 51 countries we’re in they’ll decide on their own local issues as well.

MJ: Which leads nicely to my next question, which was what do you do practically in terms of giving back, raising money? Obviously there’s the commercial motive that you’ve gotta keep in mind, but then yeah, what are you doing on that giving back aspect?

NR: Yeah so we have a Charity Pot programme which we do globally, but locally basically how it works is it’s a product. It’s a hand and body moisturiser, and 100% of the sale, not the proceeds, it’s the whole sale, goes into a pot.

NM: Oh so not the cost recovery? The whole thing.

NR: The whole thing. Yeah so it’s an investment by the business as well for the product cost. It goes into a pot and we fund small grassroots charities in human rights, environmental sustainability or animal welfare. And there’s certain criteria. So they have to be turning over less than about $350,000. They have to not be affiliated  with any military groups or any religious groups. And that way we have a really grassroots feel to what we fund. And at the moment Charity Pot sits at about 1% of our total sales of our business, so you can imagine how much we’re actually giving each year.

NR: We have another fund out of a product which we call FUN, which was made after the Fukushima earthquake. And it was two  and a half percent of every pot sold goes into a FunD, where we provide really fun opportunities for children in Japan to play and have a really good time, even through those harder times.

MJ: We’re talking about the beginning purpose, and are keen to explore what that means for Lush, I think from an internal perspective. So it’s gotta be sort of a galvanising, if you like, call for the team as a whole. How are you seeing that change or maybe grow as the generations come in, as the company grows and matures? This concept of purpose as we hear all the time is the thing, right? I have to have purpose at my work. It’s all gotta be aligned, etc. How do you process what’s a very big conversation out there?

NR: I think people come to Lush already knowing what the Lush purpose is, and feel that they are personally aligned. A lot of the time it’s a safe space for our LGBTQI staff who choose to come and work at Lush because they know it’s a safe place for them. And they know that they can talk about other issues with us, like transgender rights or anything like that. And that’s a safe space. So we really attract people that already have very strong, very specific values, that also feel like they can speak up about their own purpose and how they’d  like to use the business for change.

NR: So our directors are very supportive and the staff have absolute access to them. And so it means that everyone feels heard and valued and validated by the things that they really want to work towards and work on. A lot of the campaigning issues have come out of staff suggestions. So it’s part of the recruitment process. People who want to join us, they just come because they love Lush already, and it just creates a really great space for people who feel purpose in their work anyway.

MJ: So what about with customers, how do you understand what their personal values and their beliefs would be? And connecting that to the brand.

NR: Yeah great question. So we do a lot of training. There’s obviously all your standard training like the sales cycle and demonstrations and using the product and product knowledge and all that kinda thing. And it’s really about, the main thing that we train on, is one to one customer experience. And really providing a very tailored service for each customer that comes into our stores. So we train our staff to really understand who’s coming in, and everybody’s really different, so some people may just want to fly in and fly out with their bath bomb or their skin care product. But some people do want to try everything and smell everything and experience everything. And some people want to hear the stories about where our ingredients came from and some people want to talk about the campaigning,  but it’s really about tailoring the conversation to who’s coming into our store, and making sure we get that right.

MJ: So are you doing that in an any more scientific way? I imagine you’re just gonna say, “No it’s organic”, right?

NR: Yeah no, not really. I mean I think we can measure the results of a campaign clearly by our sales and our footfall, our average dollar, our conversion, and that sort of thing. So we can measure when a campaign is happening. Like for example with our last people seeking  asylum campaign around bringing them here, our sales were up 45%. So we knew that even though we were having really tough conversations on the shop floor And something that’s a bit left of field obviously for a cosmetics brand. We were still selling a lot of product, and people felt that it was a good conversation to be having and one that needed to be had. And it also makes our staff feel more passionate. If they’re engaged and they’re passionate you’re always gonna sell more anyway. It’s a by-product.  

MJ: Well one of the reasons I ask is I’ve developed a keynote  speaking topic called Beliefonomics. It’s actually a framework for understanding how brands can tell their story. And what’s fascinating is if you look at our focus on understanding, particularly at a digital level, user behaviour and engagement. They’re all surface level abstractions of what’s underneath, which is our beliefs and our values, and the values that inspire us to go for certain brands that align with those. So it’s very much the Lush story.

MJ: What’s your sort of perception of the lack of attention that many brands have on understanding those values? We’ve got a lot of focus looking at behaviour but we’re not focused on values.

NR: Yeah. So it’s interesting that you talk about values because actually values are what makes people feel purpose. And that’s also how I recruit, based on people’s value systems. So people who have harmony values or enjoy the outdoors. I can actually do a psychometric test that will tell me this person is personally aligned with Lush, or this person has support and affiliation values, and  they will work well in this particular role. So I think when we’re talking about business values or even behavioural values around things like collaboration. If you value that as a person then coming to work for Lush is a great thing. But if you value a lot of independence and autonomy then it’s probably not the best place.

NR: So yeah, people’s personal values and brand values are what helps tell that story. And if they’re really clear for the staff and the customers then it’s much easier to tell that story.

MJ: And I’m wondering how your product development might grow and change over time because if you have staff who have those values in store, talking to customers, there’s an opportunity to say alright, based on what your personal values are or what you believe about a particular issue, how could we grow? How could we change? How could we innovate? What new products would you like that are aligned with that? Pick your cause. What do you think?

NR: Totally. I mean and that does happen all the time. So for example, we have such a focus on environmental sustainability, and about six or seven years ago we were told and we realised that plastic glitter really affects the waterways. And we’re a very glittery brand. So totally changed our innovation.

NR: So our founders and inventors created a plastic free glitter, which is basically made out of agar agar or seaweed, or the alternative is synthetic mica. And what happens is now when our bath bombs go down the drain the glitter goes back into its normal form and it can go into the oceans and fish can eat it and it’s back into old form anyway. It does cost six times more the price to manufacture this type of glitter, but it is the right thing to do. And on top of that we didn’t patent that formula, so it meant that other brands or other cosmetics companies or anyone could jump on board and use that formula to make something that would have no impact on the environment. So we are changing. As soon as somebody brings something to our attention we can say, “Okay let’s look at it, let’s work on it, and make a change.”

MJ: I gotta say as somebody who actively avoids glitter, the idea of it actually disintegrating is great news to me.

NR: It’s great, yeah.

NM: You were talking about the power of your platforms before, for sparking change and getting discussion. Would you consider your shops a platform? I mean all this conversation is going on, and your sales staff are engaged in however much conversation I might want as a customer if I come in and express an interest. And if so how do you measure that power?

NR: Yeah so we definitely consider the stores a platform for those kinds of conversations. Obviously from point of sale perspective we’ve got signage and our LED screens where we can play video content and photo opportunities and things like that, where people walk in and out.  So yes they’re a platform, and in terms of the way our staff engage, well they’re just a wealth of knowledge and we continue to provide them and help them by layering their knowledge with information, video content, what we call campaign packs which is just a pack of information around a specific issue or a new window we’ve got coming out. And usually when they’re passionate they’ll have been doing their own research anyway and understanding the full breadth and scope of the issue or the topic.

NR: And they have a huge wealth of knowledge about our products and where we source ingredients and the communities we purchase from and the impact on those communities, and things like that. So they are really powerful, and our staff, all 2,000 of them across the Australia/New Zealand business are very powerful people, and can make absolute social change.

MJ: I guess looking ahead, what’s the future? Are you gonna keep having this kind of campaign mindset around issues as sort of the driving force of the business or is there another way that you’re thinking about how it will continue to grow?

NR: Yeah I mean we’re always thinking about our next campaign and continuing on with the campaigns we’ve worked on. But we’re also always thinking about our buying practises, because for example we’re some of the biggest buyers of rose oil in the world. And so what impact could that have on the community we buy from? So we buy from a small community in Senir in Turkey. And what we’ve been able to do with our procurement with them is actually help fund an education facility for a small group of young people.

NR: So we’re always thinking about that, because we buy hundreds of raw materials and natural ingredients and things like that, so that arm of the business is quite significant. And we do things like we bought 10,000 hectares in the Amazon so that they didn’t cut down or fell those trees, and it meant that the animals could still live there. But we could still use that area for resources. So making big business decisions like that around how we purchase, or we’ve got a fund that we’re working on called the Sustainable Lush Fund, also known as the SLush Fund.

MJ: Nice.

NM: That’s gorgeous.

NR: Thank you. Yes it’s great.

NR: So 2% of all of our procurement spend goes into that fund and basically we look to invest in small grassroots community who are using permaculture to grow ingredients. Permaculture’s a style of growing where it’s about care for people, care for animals and care for the land. And it means that you regenerate soil, it’s all about educating people. And so we’re investing in businesses around the world who are doing that sort of thing, and the minute they become sustainable and profitable we don’t necessarily invest with them anymore. We may not buy ingredients from them but some places we may, like the Ghana Permaculture Institute, we buy moringa oil from and we use in a number of products.

NR: So we’re thinking about our impact on a global scale, from all the ingredients that we buy. And that’s like a really big part of our future. We’re thinking about freedom of movement, freedom of movement around the world. We’ve got 15,000 staff globally, how can they easily and freely move to work for Lush in different ways? Yeah we’ll continue to campaign on all those key issues that we love.

MJ: One of the themes that seems to be coming through in our conversation is patience and the long game. How are you gonna deal with competitors that move a lot faster? And they’ll use paid and they’ll use all these other techniques. Is there a risk that you might get beaten to the punch with particular products or campaigns?

NR: Yeah there’s always a risk when people have million dollar budgets or a few million dollars to work with and that sort of thing. But at the end of the day if we’re being true to ourselves and true to the brand story and transparent and fair and honest, then the customer doesn’t give a crap for the advertising so much. What they want is the true authentic stuff that they know where they’re getting it from and they can trust that brand. And I think the long game is the good one, and yes people may cut through with their advertising for short bursts,  but it’s short bursts and we’d rather wait out the long game and build long term trusting relationships with our customers. And that’s what’s important we think.

NM: Excellent.

MJ: That’s great. Well before you go, one of the fun things we like to do is our rapid fire round of questions. It’s kind of random, but also interesting.

NR:  I’m ready.

MJ: You’re ready?

MJ: What are you grateful for?

NR: My family.

NM: Do you like rain?

NR: Yes.

MJ: In the movie of your life, who would play you?

NR: Ooh, Scarlett Johansson.

NM: Nice. What’s your greatest career fail?

NR: Hiring badly. Really badly.

MJ: Beach or mountain?

NR: Beach.

NM: Best ever career advice?

NR: Give and receive feedback fairly.

MJ: Summer or winter?

NR: Summer.

NM: Who’s your hero?

NR: My parents would be my heroes.

MJ: Ah that’s awesome. If you didn’t do what you do now, you’d be a?

NR: To be honest I as a child said I would be a shopkeeper. So I think I’m in the right role.

MJ: You’re very close.

NR: Well you know, keeping a shop together, yes.

MJ: What did you have for breakfast?

NR: Avo on toast.

MJ: Are you a millennial?

NR: Yes.

MJ: Yes, come on down.

MJ: What would you rather have had? Or is that the epitome of breakfast?

NR: That’s the epitome. It’s the best of the best.

NM: What was the last conversation you had with your parents?

NR: That it’s my birthday tomorrow and what do I want?

MJ: Congratulations.

NM: Is it shower gel by any chance?

NR:  No it’s new running shoes.

NM: Excellent.

MJ: Excellent. NM: 38:45 If you could change one thing about the marketing industry, what would you change?

NR: The bullshit and smoke and mirrors.

NM: What’s your greatest frustration?

NR: Huntsmans in summer that come in in the rain.

MJ: What was the last conference you went to?

NR: This morning I went to a retail breakfast seminar.

NM: Dogs or cats?

NR: Dogs.

MJ: For the win, and favourite book?

NR: Harry Potter.

NM: If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

NR: Oh what a question, something cool like Delilah.

NM: Oh god when you say Delilah I just hear the song.

MJ: Something exotic.

NR: Something weird.

NM: That’s wonderful.

MJ: Well Natasha Ritz, Brand Communications Manager at Lush Cosmetics. Thank you so much for joining us and being our guest on the CMO Show.

NR: Thank you for having me.

NM: You’ve given us a great purpose for today.

NR: Oh great, thank you.

NM: How funny, user generated content with bums.

MJ: Yeah, bums make an impact.

NM: It’s a wonderful statement.

MJ: Great line. Should turn that into one of those little social things that gets quoted.

NM: They might just do that.

MJ: Yeah. Of course user generated content, organic. I just love the fact that now for me organic has a whole different meaning.

NM: Well for me, I now realise that there are a whole bunch of little fish that are not going to have glitter inside them. Thanks to their new way of making glitter. Who’d have thought? They really thought about everything in that process.

MJ: That actually is innovation by the way. Different topic, but getting back to the topic at hand, purpose. What do you think of purpose?

NM: Incredibly purposeful. Also incredibly calm. This is a very vibrant company and the staff are very conversational and they’re  talking about issues. It’s just not the sort of scene where you expect someone to handle those pointy business questions so beautifully.

MJ: I agree. One of the things, I’ve got a keynote speaking topic that I call Beliefonomics, and it’s connecting our personal values, our beliefs, with the if you like economic imperative of a company. One of the things that moves people from unbelief to belief in a brand is what I call the belief moment. And a belief moment is a story that has integrity and emotion. And it strikes me that in this purpose story we’ve got integrity because they do what they say they’ll do-

NM: That’s true, they follow through.

MJ: And they tell these real organic stories, and also, by virtue of the product, it’s really emotional. I mean we connect with these brands. I don’t use the bath bombs, maybe I should.

NM: You know what you probably got some for father’s day Mark.

MJ: Yes, you’re right. But I think it’s a really great reminder as marketers that it’s how can we get this connection of emotion and integrity in our brand story?

NM: And for them it’s staffing. Each one of the staff members is an amazing advocate.

MJ: Anyway we’re sounding like real brand fans here aren’t we?

NM: Well I am a bit of a fan now. I really like the purpose.

MJ: Yeah I think so. Well it’s a fantastic case study in connecting your purpose with your business activities and doing good in the  world, so we can only encourage more brands to do that.

NM: Yeah so have purpose but then follow through.

MJ: Absolutely.

MJ: Thank you for joining us this time on the CMO Show.

NM: Don’t forget to like us, leave comments, leave feedback, subscribe.

MJ: Yep, Apple podcasts in your favourite podcast aggregator.

NM: Just love us, give us love.

MJ: And send us an email, we’d love to get your feedback and make sure that we’re acting with purpose in educating you on all things brand storytelling in the future of marketing. Until next time.

NM: Until then.

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