I selected one of the most controversial makeup brands of recent date, Lime Crime. Originally starting out as a fashion brand on Ebay in 2004, founder Doe Deere (then known as Xenia Vorotova) relaunched her brand as a makeup company In 2008. Deere's company was reportedly known as the “first brands to really go in on the unicorn theme” which is now so widely popular within the beauty community. Due to this competitive advantage they had against other brands early on, the company gained a somewhat cult following; as the brand grew, so did the ideas in which came around for products. As the brand grew, it began to be carried in stores and other online retailers such as ASOS, Urban Outfitters and Riley Rose.
In 2018, the brand was bought by Tangram Capital Partners.
Additionally, the brand's aesthetic includes bright colours, floral motifs, the unicorn brand mark, as well as on the whole the packaging and whole overall aesthetic is very kitsch and out there.
The signature of the brand is all tied in together all very well and is carried out throughout the entire company and aesthetic, be it their packaging, branding online or their advertising campaigns.
The brand's packaging links well with it's logo and whole aesthetic. The boxes in which products are delivered in have the companies logotype on it with a black floral motif actually printed on the inside of the shipping boxes. They're then filled with pink tissue paper to keep products from moving and preventing breakage as well as adding to the aesthetic of the company. The boxes in which lipsticks are packaged are bright with this floral motif on once again, which ties the brand altogether, which i believe is a personally very nice touch.
When looking at actual products and their packaging, its all very sturdy, weighty and aesthetically pleasing, as it once again all ties in with the brand's persona.
The brand hasn't had an easy start due to the mass controversy surrounding it and it's founder; ranging from lawsuits, cultural appropriation within products and campaigns, as well as FDA warning letters to show how some products were toxic. Lime Crime was once labeled “the most hated beauty company on the internet”.
A large blunder issue which the company faced back in 2012 was one of their makeup palettes, called China Doll in which the campaign used“culturally insensitive” and was “rather ignorant of chinese culture, past and present”. The campaign featured a white model, wearing japanese garments with Japanese inspired makeup, to give her a doll-like look. when Doe released her apology on her blog, she referred to the “uproar in the blogging community” as “a little silly' which triggered furthermore backlash from the beauty community.
Lime crime's most effective way to engage with followers is through their social media platforms to “increase awareness, and accelerate (their) profits”. Although this is their more positive aspects of the company, it could still be improved, because competitors work even harder than Lime Crime when it comes to engagement. Lime crime's even described to have had a “cult following” since the brand launched in 2008 due to their social media presence, and has even wracked up an impressive following on their instagram of 3.4million, because of their excessive posting in upwards of over 10,000 posts.The brand's described as ‘digital-first' because of this strong link between “direct to consumer” meaning they typically rely on their direct sales rather than their recent change to limited stock with limited retailers. The companies strong social media presence and its very much active engagement with its consumers. Due to this shift in how companies and consumers interact has changed because of social media, Limecrime now can personally interact with their consumers and get instant feedback on products, pre-launches and releases- this furthermore aided the brand to expand. The use of consumer's own photographs and videos of products in use or personally tailored reviews of experiences allows the company to have ample amounts of information from their consumers on what they think of their products and for them to distribute these ‘trusted' sources due to the fact that they're from customers and bloggers.
Typically, after the announcement of a new product, with the help of PR lists (public relations) the company can send established bloggers to use their products for free in exchange for reviews, or photographs with the product in use, as shown in photo(2). This aids both the consumer as well as the company; its allowing lime crime to have instant trusted reviews from popular bloggers, as well as giving smaller platformed bloggers the exposure from being posted on larger social media accounts that the companies have.
Lime Crime very heavily advertises that their products are vegan and cruelty free, as shown above on a piece of art made for their website. using marketing research, Deere saw a gap in the market for makeup which was bold but inclusive to all.
This plays a strength when look at the companies competitive strategy. Due to the earliness in which they created this the brand creates an inclusivity approach to their products, so their target audience is as wide as they can possibly make it for those interested in the beauty industry. The brand are proudly both vegan and cruelty free, certified for both by the leaping bunny programme as well as PETA- two internationally recognised for cosmetics as well as other products.
Lime Crime's products are all quite equally high in quality, especially for their price. The brand is considered more of a mid to high priced, but the amount of product for price is good. When comparing against a competitor, like Glossier, for £14 each (the competitor and lime crime) you get more product with Lime Crime, so its better value for money; they also have a much larger selection of lip products compared to their competitor. Although, this doesn't necessarily mean Lime Crime is doing better.
The brand's aesthetic, as previously described, consists of bright and pastel colourshemes, predominantly pinks, purples and red. A floral motif sticks consistently throughout packaging, as well as on the logos and throughout the website, as well as the unicorn brandmark, which features on all packaging, and advertising campaigns, as well as on their website.
The brands approach to their customers experience with the company is for it to be ‘unique' and how the products evolve ‘around the individual consumer'.
Although the company has these claims, when you look into the customer service by Lime Crime, the overall consensus from the consumer is that they're very poor.
On trust pilot, the company has an average score when it comes to their customer service and products. The 33% of their score was bad views, with the majority complaining about how poor their customer service is. According to consumers, the company is very poor at dealing with complaints, issues with parcels and responding to problems. I personally believe this is a serious issue when it comes to companies due to the fact that especially when youre ordering from another country you expect the package to be correct, and if not, then for the company to speedily fix and compensate a customer for their faux pas.
Unfortunately, Lime Crime seems to be suffering due to all this backlash it has had over the years. In comparison to competitors, they're typically flagging behind in their sales.
When looking at the competitive strategy against Lime Crime's competitors, such as Glossier, who has the same amount of employees as Lime Crime, the revenue between the two is very different. Lime crime's revenue is between $10-$50million which compared to Glossier, who's revenue for the end of 2018 was expected to hit $100m.it shows the company isn't doing as well as it possibly could be, probably due to the fact the brand has lost its trust in it's consumer because of the amount of issues that have occurred over the years. The brand will either slowly decline furthermore, or regain it's trust once again, seeing as it was bought by a larger program who may be able to restore faith of the consumer's in the brand.
As previously said, Lime Crime on whole seems to be pretty unstable. The company has the potential to either plummet or redeem itself, depending on how the new CEO and owners play it. In order to save the brand, they must reconnect with their consumers, and could potentially take a leaf out of their competitor's book Glossier's book when looking into the competitive strategy.
Glossier's brand revolves around their outstanding and well known gTEAM (what the brand calls their customer service) which heavily interacts with their customers, and they give a sense of connection between the two, described as “friendly, warm and thoughtful”. For Lime Crime to once more flourish, it must change how it interacts with it's customers, how they deal with complaints and even praise.
I personally do not think Lime Crime is a bad brand. There are much larger companies such as MAC Cosmetics for their own controversies similar to Lime Crime but have not had anywhere as nearer bigger backlash from the consumer. For example, MAC is still testing on animals, even though it's not a legal requirement to do for the countries in which they sell in. Time and time again, it resurfaces MAC still tests on animals- most recent PETA reminded their customers that the company still does this, and the fact its illegal to test on animals in countries such as India and Norway- yet this constant issue that MAC refuses to change has never affected the company, and they're still being the “the worlds most famous makeup brand”.
I think because Lime Crime isn't a mainstream brand and is more directed at an ‘alternative' audience, I think a widespread audience finds it more difficult to forgive the brand. My own personal experiences with the brand have always been positive. The products are well made, the packaging is good and deliveries are always fast. My only issue was with the pricing when it came to postage and VAT/taxes that were added on which heavily increased the price.
I decided to redesign the brand mark of the company Lime Crime.
When looking at the history of Lime Crime's logos, the brand mark and logotype has evolved a lot since 2008. The first logo from the brand I found is on the left which is from 2010. The logo is in a very similar vain to the clothing brand Juicy Couture which was popular in the noughties. This type of cheap-looking diamante stud embellishment would appear on their clothing (shown below the lime crime logo) It's very poor taste but was attempting to keep up with the trends of the 2010 era.
The second logo I could find online was from 2011 (right). As seen, it's very basic, with a more gothic typeface for the company name. I think this logo is pretty poor for the company, it's very basic with the brand name wrapping around the circle, which looks better but is very basic. The companies logo's upgrade that shows most remembered and current brand mark was in 2013. It has the two mirror unicorns inside a heart, which now is printed on nearly all their products to show authenticity due to the fact this is the most well known logo. In 2018, to what it is now, with this 2013 logo with a colour gradient across it, with a floral motif framing it.
As shown to the left, this was the original, most up to date version of the brandmark. Below that photo is my three potential redesigns I created, and below that is my final, chosen version of the redesign of the logotype.
I decided to stick with unicorn motif in which the brand uses throughout their packaging and branding so the brand mark is still ‘on brand'. I thought the floral motif the original brand mark has is too fussy and excessive, hence why I decided to remove them in their entirety. Instead, i wanted to play around with the idea of using a slice of lime, so it was a bit of play on words of the actual companies name within the logo. I kept the unicorn for the centre of the lime because then it still links to the tagline.
I kept to the more typically ‘on brand' colour of a deep bright neon purple for the colour for the unicorn, then a neon green which could be more easily seen on packaging that makes the unicorn stand out.
I'm not sure whether my redesign particularly looks great, but it was the best out of the three designs. I think it fits in with the company quite well and suits the products and packaging, so could easily be switched in for a more updated version of their already standing logotype. I personally like my own version, I think its something a bit different and still suits the company quite well.
In conclusion, I personally feel that the brand is good. my overall research into experience's, pricing of products, marketing campaigns and their overall ethics when it comes to inclusivity, i feel Lime Crime are an overall good brand and know what they're doing when it comes to marketing their products. I think Lime Crime is a far harsher time when it comes to scandals in comparison to other beauty brands due to their indie status, I think consumers allow larger brands and their scandals to slide with ease in comparison to independent brands. I think the new owners as well as new CEO has the potential to allow the brand's previous altercations to fade, and the brand can go from strength to strength and grow within the future.
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