On Black Friday, Lush Cosmetics quit social media. Lush flushed over 10.6 million followers on Instagram and Facebook alone. Talk about a meta-morphis.

Why? Frances Haugen is the reason. She blew the whistle on Facebook’s own research. The research suggested that Instagram made body image issues worse for teenage girls.

Co-Founder and CEO Mark Constantine told The Guardian, “I just thought ‘That’s their own research and they’re ignoring it and we are attracting people to their platform.’ We had no choice whatsoever. Lush attracts an awful lot of girls of that age.”

This is a great example of the Pink Goldfish of Withholding. Facebook and Instagram weren’t the only platforms impacted. Snapchat and TikTok also made the chopping block.

Thanks to my Yellow Goldfish co-author Rosaria Cirillo Louwman for the heads up on the move from the UK-based fresh handmade cosmetics brand.

I applaud Lush for this major move. You can’t talk about being caring and ethical… and then put your head in the sand. I especially think that the timing of this can’t be ignored. It’s easy to be bold when things are going gangbuster. Last year Lush saw sales drop 20% and they lost $60 million.

Caveats – Back in 2019 Lush decided to stop posting on social media. It’s like the old joke about quitting smoking, “It’s easy to quit… I’ve done it 60 times.” I”m going to give Lush a pass on not permanently quitting the first time. A once-in-a-century pandemic necessitated the need to connect directly with consumers when stores were closed. They also aren’t going cold turkey. The brand plans to stay active on Twitter and YouTube.

The Pink Goldfish of Withholding is about limitations, restrictions, boundaries, and constraints. That sounds obviously negative. Shouldn’t the best organizations be everywhere all the time? Maybe not.

Lush made this move on Black Friday. Since 2015, REI has closed its stores and its website on the biggest day in retail. They call it #OptOutside. It was a purposeful move to separate itself from other retailers. Instead of hitting the mall, the company wants customers to hit the trail. They are encouraging their employees and customers to go for a hike.

“We really want this to be a day when people are outdoors, spending time with their families,” says Jerry Stritzke, REI’s former CEO.

How has this deviation from traditional retailers affected their business? Sales, profits, and revenues keep increasing every year. Being closed on the biggest shopping day hasn’t hurt them. Instead, it has helped them and maybe made the world a better place. 

Lush may be inspired by REI. Their final post on social included the following request, “stop scrolling and be somewhere else instead.”

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

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