A new piece of research by Basic Arts has revealed that the UK public now believe advertising to be unnecessary for “great brands”; something they proved by voting Lush cosmetics – a business who adopt a “no advertising” policy – as their most admired brand.
In the survey, an overwhelming 95% of people agreed with the statement “I don’t think great brands need to advertise”, with their rationale being that the internet now offers such a wealth of impartial information for consumers that the cream of businesses can automatically rise to the top.
They sited “reviews, journalism, and other impartial coverage” as being the most influential form of information they use when forming opinions on brands, outstripping even the opinions of friends, which came second, and leaving brand-produced messages such as advertising and company social media channels at the bottom of the pile.
Normally claims such as these need to be taken with a pinch of salt, as people are notoriously bad at accurately determining what influences them. However the respondents appeared unwittingly to verify their own opinions when they voted Lush as their most admired brand, since the UK cosmetics outfit choose not to invest any money in advertising and media buying. Their ability to outperform even the usual suspects such as Nike and Apple in a brand love poll suggests there really is a new approach for businesses to explore.
Mark Constantine, the founder of Lush, puts their success down to honesty, transparency, and consistency, as he noted “You need to walk your talk, and sustain the message you put out there… companies who have been using advertising to say they are something they’re not have never truly been in control of their brand”.
It is this commitment to truly effective advertising being built on internal behaviours which respondents also identified as being the thing most important to them. When asked to identify what it was that drove them to love the brands that they did, by far the most crucial factor was simply “what I know about what they do”.
These results call into question the common orthodoxy of confining brand thinking and creativity to marketing departments and advertising, rather than spreading it over the whole business. It appears that in an age of transparency and democratised information, the battleground where businesses will be fighting it out will not be in paid media, but rather within the walls of the business itself.
The full results of this research, as well as the interview with Mark Constantine, will be launched on Wednesday 29th of March in an event in London which will also feature the opinions of the founders of three further businesses who are taking this approach.
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