Lush Cosmetics` Branding Design and its Impact on the Brand

Lush Cosmetics’ Branding Design 13

LushCosmetics’ Branding Design and its Impact on the Brand

Equityin Japan

Cityand State:

Outline:Lush Cosmetics

Research Proposal Lush Cosmetics’ Branding Design and its Impact onthe Brand Equity in Japan

Hypothesis:“Owing to the Japan culture’s affinity for nature, Lush Cosmeticsenjoys strong brand equity due to its equally strong affinity fornature”.

  1. Background information

  • What is a brand?

  • What is brand design?

  • What is brand equity?

  1. Literature review

  • Research carried out on the relationship between band name, design and rand equity

  1. The Cosmetic/ Beauty industry

  • What constitutes the global cosmetic industry?

  • Impact of the cosmetic industry on the global economy

  • Future predictions of the cosmetic industry

  1. Lush cosmetics

  • Brief history of the organization

  • Current state of the organization in terms of production, geographical coverage, operation ethics

  1. Lush Cosmetics Brand Design

  • Brand name, logo and design

  • Ethical operations, ethical buying,

  • Lush cosmetics in Japan

  1. Research

  1. Research aim

  2. Research questions

  3. Hypothesis- “Owing to the Japan culture’s affinity for nature, Lush Cosmetics enjoys strong brand equity due to its equally strong affinity for nature”.

  4. Research methodology

  • Methods of data collection: Face to face and online surveys and observation

  • Secondary research to establish the performance of the company

  • Advantages and disadvantages of each method

  1. Timescale of the project proposal

  • Proposed approximate time plan

  1. Resources

  • Labor

  • Financial resources

  • Time resources

  • Proposed financial budget

  1. Reference list

LushCosmetics’ Branding Design and its Impact on the Brand Equity inJapan


Brandidentity is the combined message that a business transmits to itsaudience through its logo, brand name, and visuals. It is the largerand more distinctive visual look that an organization is associatedwith. Once the process of designing a logo has been completed, thefinished design can then be applied to a number of applications, forinstance, letterheads, packaging materials and advertisements amongothers. However, this is only rubber-stamping a logo and does notnecessarily translate to a fully developed brand identity. Aneffective or functional brand identity should be recognized evenwithout the presence of a logo. While the logo and other visuals maybe unfailingly unchangeable, it’s crucial that a company’s brandidentity is both flexible and consistent. This basically means that abrand must be distinct yet variable on the basis of its form. Aschallenging as this may be, it brings in a substantial dividend tothe brand.

Accordingto Sir Richard Branson, branding requires a number of commitments,for instance, the commitment to a continuous re-invention and thecommitment to endless imagination. He further states that it isharder to be successful without these commitments.

Accordingto Aaker (1991 pp. 34-55), the term brand is more difficult todefine. He explained that it incorporates the logo and entire visualaspect. In addition to this, other aspects which are not strictlywithin the limits of design and physical appearance are incorporatedinto the brand. These include the product story, messaging and thecontent input. Other aspects include client experiences, customerservice, and reputation. In some instances, the word brand issummarized to refer to an abstract idea of a promise (Aaker, 2009,pp. 97).

Theconnection between the two is that through brand identity design, thebrand endeavors to clearly communicate with its target audience.

Wheeler(2013 pp. 30) states that product branding and design are twoactivities that came into existence with the era of the IndustrialRevolution. As the economy transitions into one of knowledge, bothactivities are gradually increasing in sophistication as they addvalue to products. However, further research has shown that ifmisused, they form a combination that would create a weak and maybefragmented appeal towards an organization and the product at hand.This may occur when brand managers make attempts to adapt new brandideas to already existing products. For instance, a brand strategistmay try to define a new brand personality before fully understandingthat consumers have already developed feelings and usage preferencesfor the product. A well-established product that is closely connectedto its brand needs a strategy that fully understands its relationshipwith consumers before any changes or amendments can be made. Thisalso applies to the brand design, which presents an equal risk shouldchanges be made in a manner that disregards context or heritage ofthe brand (Mozota 2012, pp. 164-167).

Inagreement with this, additional research has proven that brand designincorporates more of the above aspects, referring to the identity ofan organization. In line with the requirements of the logo, visuals,brand name, brand identity and product, a brand designer mustconsider their target audience while coming up with a brand design.Often, brand designers overlook emotion as a component of theirdesigns, assuming that the end product comes as a package while inreality, the message to be conveyed carries the weight (Lee,Yao,Mizerski and Lamber 2015, pp. 74-78). The research by Burger (2012,pp. 39-41) reinforced this by stating that choosing a name thatconveys the intended message goes hand in hand with brand design.Brand design determines the identity of the corporation and consistsof an array of accessories that the corporation requires for visualcommunication. These include packaging materials, flyers, brochures,paper and business accessories.

TheCosmetics Beauty Industry

Onthe surface, the beauty industry is thought to cater for a particulargroup of people, for instance, those in the spotlight, the glamorous,and perhaps the vain. However, as Beerling (2009 pp. 4) states, thiscould not be any further from the truth because the beauty industrycaters to all persons in society, irrespective of age, gender, skincolor, ethnicity, and economic background. His research goes on toexplain that the foundation of the industry is based on products andservices aimed at helping people look their best. It goes beyond theconventional make-up, perfumes and hair color to include toothpaste,hair clippers, the salons, barber shops, massage parlors and tanningbeds among others. Within each of the specific segments, there areproducts suited for different skin tones, textures, different ages,different hair types and colors, different sexes, particularallergies and even for specific times of the day. At the onset, thesedifferentiating factors cause problems for consumers. However, brandloyalty is built once the consumer identifies with the products thatsuit them perfectly.

Researchconfirms that manufacturers differentiate themselves and theirproducts through identifying their target markets, prices anddifferent processes of manufacturing. For instance, those productspromising to use natural raw materials or not to carry out animaltesting of their products are more likely to have loyal nichemarkets. On the other hand, service providers differentiatethemselves from the competition through pricing, location, andidentification of their target markets. Profitability also highlydepends on the type of products used. In essence, between 5-15percent of revenue in the beauty service industry is sourced fromproduct sales (Yano Research Institute 2015, pp. 4-7).

Additionalinformation from the research carried out by Yano research Institute(2015 pp. 3-6) shows that the beauty industry is almost resistant toeconomic dips. This was especially noted during the 2008 GreatRecession. As much as consumers tend to be overly conscious of themarket prices during those periods, there is no significant change intheir spending habits. With rising per capita incomes being currentlyexperienced, therefore, the cosmetic industry is one bloomingbusiness.

Thestatistics are a clear indication of the magnitude of funds changinghands in the economy. In 2015, the industry saw a total turnover of$56.2 billion in the US alone. Hair care takes the larger percentagewith more than 86, 000 locations, while skin care takes a closesecond position projected to generate approximately $11 billion bythe year 2018. This is due to the general increase in awareness aboutthe importance of skin care as well as an increasing market for maleconsumers. The table below is representative of the differentsegments in the cosmetics industry, according to a 2015 research(Yano Research Institute 2015, pp 3):

Industry segment

Market share in revenue terms

Hair care

24.1 %

Skin care




Colognes and perfumes

9.4 %

Antiperspirant, deodorant, and feminine cleaning

8.6 %

Oral hygiene

5.5 %



Accordingto labor statistics, nearly one million Americans are economicallyengaged in the industry’s primary service segments. Being anindustry on the rise, there are strong expectations for growth asfollows (Yano Research Institute 2015, pp. 3):


Current employment levels

Expected growth by 2025

Hairdressers, cosmetologists, and barbers

657, 000

10 %

Pedicurists and manicurists

113, 700

10 %

Skincare specialists

60, 000

12 %

Massage therapists

169, 000

22 %

Previousmarket research has identified certain trends that are behind themassive growth in numbers and revenue. Production and availability oforganic products and those produced in an environmentally sustainableenvironment were one of these trends. This has been a niche marketfor a number of years in the past, though currently, more informationregarding this aspect has been made available to the consumerregarding personal and global benefits. In effect, more and peoplefeel the need to be part of the business, in effect driving the salesupwards. Another trend is the availability of products and servicestailored for the aging population. In plain terms, life expectancyhas gone up over the years without a change in retirement age. Thishas given rise to a large retired population with lots of pensionmoney to spend and the desire to keep looking younger and better. Asa result, they spend substantial amounts in the beauty industry, afactor that only serves to add to its growth. Another age-relatedtrend is linked to young children and babies. Apparently, it is alsoconnected to the sustainable/ organic product movement wherebymillennial parents are willing to pay extra to ensure that theproducts used on their children are safe. With promises of mild,natural and baby friendly products, parents will definitely opt tobuy these, thereby creating an additional target market that keepsthe industry growing. The final trend is in regards to theintroduction of male related products and services. Despite beingrelatively new, there is much potential in the sector as men continueto embrace the recent changes in barber shops and hair salons. In therecent past, men have received much more than haircuts when theyvisit barber shops, instead receiving an entire ultimate relaxationexperience that includes massage, facial skin care, spas, pedicure,manicure and other services formerly associated with women. Inaddition, there are cosmetics specifically manufactured for themodern male consumer and it is now normal for stores to havesegregated sections for male cosmetic products (Beerling, 2014 pp.4-5).

LushCosmetics Ltd.

LushCosmetics Ltd. is a manufacturer and distributor of cosmetics basedin Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom. The products manufactured are 100percent, often containing fruits and vegetables such as vanillabeans, rosemary oil, avocado oil, coconut, papaya, grapefruit, lemonand oranges among others. However, lately, they have incorporatedother ingredients like honey, eggs, milk, and lanolin. Initially, themajor product was soap though this has been diversified to includecreams, shower gels, shampoos, scrubs, lotions, and moisturizers. Inmid-2012, the company launched a makeup collection, Emotionalbrilliance which includes liquid eyeliner, lipstick, and creamshadow.

Theorganization was established in 1995 by Liz Weir and MarkConstantine, who worked as a beauty therapist and a trichologistrespectively. They met at a hair salon where they both worked andwhen their contracts were due for renewal, they opted out to begintheir own private venture. They initially named it “Herbal Hair andBeauty Clinic”. As with all start-ups, business was difficultbecause they dealt with innovative and different products. Soonafter, they identified a newly opened retail shop, The Body Shop thatstarted stocking their products briefly at first. However, thisbusiness relationship lasted for many years with the duo being themajor supplier for The Body Shop. Among the hugely successfulproducts that they produced and supplied included Body Butters,Herbal hair Color, Honey Beeswax cleanser and Peppermint Foot Lotion.The growth in business translated into additional duties and thiscalled for the engagement of more employees at Constantine and Weir.By then, the duo owned an herbal farm in Cambridge. They also soldout their products at fitness centers and gyms. Business wentsmoothly until The Body Shop bought out Constantine and Weir, thusbringing an end to the business.

Thesale gave birth to Cosmetics to Go (CTG), a potentially successfulventure which was later sold since it was not doing so well.Venturing into other kinds of businesses and employment provedimpossible for the duo since their passion was in the business ofmaking cosmetics. In 1995, they began to buy fresh food productsincluding lemons, oranges, cinnamon, and juices from the market. Theymade soap using the fresh produce, their initial products includingBanana Moon, Red Rooster, and Bohemian. The business was named Lush,defined to mean green, fresh, and verdant.

Withmuch effort, determination and strong friendship and partnerships,Lush soon began opening overseas branches in Australia, Canada, andCroatia. Currently, the organization has more than 700 stores and anumber of factories in over 40 countries. There are approximately6000 employees working for Lush in their different departments. Someof them are in the factories creating hand-made products, making soapsales on shop floors, and filling out presents. The company makesproducts using herbal raw materials so there is a group of employeesout in the jungles collecting these materials at any given time.

LushCosmetics Brand Design

Overand over, Lush Cosmetics Ltd has sold its image as one of pure trust.Since inception, as outlined in the company’s background, theorganization has endeavored to make products that are harmless tousers by using natural and herbal ingredients. It is critical to notethat this aspect has been captured as part of the company’s brandname and brand design. The logo of the company reads “LUSH: FRESHHANDMADE COSMETICS”. The inclusion of fresh and handmade in thelogo already passes the message to potential consumers therebyforming an opinion even before the client buys or uses the product.

Thebrand design is critical and determines the success or failure of aproduct in any particular market.

Thisproject proposal seeks to establish whether the brand design of LushCosmetics Ltd has an impact on the brand equity in Japan. In thiscontext, brand equity describes the power of a brand that is derivedfrom the recognition and goodwill it has earned over time owing toits superiority or long duration in the market. When a brand enjoyswide familiarity, dominant market share and a strong loyalty base, itis said to enjoy higher brand equity and therefore stands to gainconsistently favorable performance in the long run. A long standingstrong brand equity may also result in that brand being used as thename of an entire category, for instance, the use of “coca-cola”when referring to soft drinks of different brands.

JapanCosmetic Industry

Japanis arguably the second largest cosmetic market in the world after theUS. It is a trendsetter for the rest of Asia, placing extremely highvalue on functionality and quality. In recent years, just like in theUnited States, there has been a significant increase in demand forfunctional products providing specific benefits. They include antiaging products, wrinkle care products, firmness and skin toneenhancing products and skin brighteners. With these providing anadditional market, the local companies are increasingly sourcing forinnovative products from overseas countries. Top on the list areorganic certified products and cosmeceutical products which are bothcosmetic and pharmaceutical. The Japan cosmetics market has beenregarded as one of the most impenetrable due to its sophisticationand competitive nature. Alternatively, the Japanese are the mostdifficult consumers to satisfy in the world. There is a common phrasein the world of business stating that if one makes it in Japan, thenthey can make it in any other region of the world. Penetrating theJapan market means competing with the large domestic players, whichinclude Kao, Shiseido, and Kanedo among others. Each of thesecompanies single-handedly commands a 10-15 percent share of theentire market. However, imported brands mainly sourced from theUnited States and France have strived and won a placement in themarket.

Lushin Japan

LushCosmetics Ltd (mentioned above), the British cosmetic manufacturerknown for its fresh handmade products and its environmental friendlynature, had its presence felt in Japan from 1998. The Japaneseculture is strongly affiliated to nature and, therefore, productsconvincingly marketed as natural tend to get a ready customer base inthe country. Lush outlets are found in all except nine of thecountry’s forty seven prefectures, and employs close to 2, 000employees countrywide.

Ethicaloperations are a critical part of the values at Lush Cosmetics. Thisincludes the company’s supply chain which is widely referred to asEthical Buying Policy. As stated earlier, Lush prides itself inmanufacturing handmade cosmetics that are environmental friendly andnatural. In a bid to reinforce this, there is the need to make use ofthe safest, best and most beautiful ingredients in their products. Anethical buying team is charged with this responsibility of sourcingfor the finest essential oils, natural raw materials, and safesynthetics. Apart from acquiring the best raw materials, the teammust also source for the materials in a respectable manner thatsafeguards the environment. The social impact is taken care of byensuring that the firm maintains a strong commitment to thecommunities from where these raw material purchases are grown. Theethical considerations made in the buying process includeenvironment, workers’ rights, protection of animals and distancetraveled by the ingredients which must involve minimum air travel.According to a survey carried out by Lush in Japan, only a paltry 30percent of the respondents had any knowledge of the controversialanimal testing policy. Worse still, less than 20 percent did not havean idea of Lush’s or any other company’s ethical buying policy.However, 85 percent did not trust ingredients whose safety couldn’tbe determined unless it was tested on animals. With this, it meantthat Lush consumers are likely to make purchase decisions based onthe values of the manufacturing company. This is one of the manyreasons why Lush, alongside other firms like The Body Shop and PierreFabre, have regarded Japan as a key market in its global strategysince its launch in 1998 (

Froma more exciting perspective though, Lush’s main advantage in Japanis its combination of bold, modern and log cabin cutesiness, with alogo design that reflect the looks of the best fashion shops in Japanas well as that of fruit shops. Furthermore, the labeling and signingare handwritten to create a ‘handmade’ look(

Thecosmetic industry background information above prepares the base forthis research proposal. This is a research proposal whose aim is tofind out the impact of Lush Cosmetic’s branding design on the brandequity in Japan.

ResearchAim, Research Questions and Hypotheses

Asstated above, the aim of the research is to find out the impact ofLush Cosmetics’ branding design on its Japan’s brand equity. Whenpeople talk about brand equity, they are generally referring to thevaluation that is accorded a particular brand by the public. This isoften linked to the loyalty of the client, wide recognition, and themarket share that the brand enjoys. When a brand is accompanied bystrong loyalty, wide recognition, and a dominant market share, thistranslates to consistent good performance and also results fromfavorable brand performance over long periods of time.

TheJapan cosmetics market has been regarded as one of the mostimpenetrable due to its sophistication and competitive nature thatmakes the Japanese consumer hard to please and convince. With LushCosmetics being a brand to contend with in today’s cosmetic market,the researcher deemed it necessary to find out whether its brandingdesign could single-handedly influence the products’ brand equityin Japan. For this project, the research shall measure brand equitybased on the knowledge that consumers have of the brand, the customerloyalty levels and the performance of the brand in the past.

Assessingbrand equity is considered critical since brands are known to have astrong influence on critical business outcomes such as market shareand revenue levels. According to past market research on brands,branded products command higher prices than their counterpart genericor store brands. This happens even for regular commodities likesugar. The research shall be based on the hypothesis that “Owingto the Japan culture’s affinity for nature, Lush Cosmetics enjoysstrong brand equity due to its equally strong affinity for nature”.

TheResearch Questions

Ingeneral, the research questions shall address the three aspectshighlighted above performance, recognition, and loyalty. In anutshell, the project shall answer the following questions:

  1. Brand awareness (the strength of the brand in the memory of a consumer):

  • What is the likelihood that the consumer recalls and recognizes the brand that they had purchased earlier?

  • What is the likelihood that a customer recalls and recognizes the brand despite not having purchased it before?

  • Does the consumer require any visual aid to recall/ recognize the brand?

  1. What is the brand image (preferences and perceptions of the brand by the consumer)? This shall be based upon certain characteristics including:

  • Features and characteristics

  • Durability and reliability

  • Effectiveness and efficiency

  • Design and style

  • Pricing

  1. The type of persons using the brand (user profile)?

  2. What are the conditions under which the brand is purchased?

  3. Under what conditions is the brand used?

  4. What are the values and personality attached to the brand?

  5. What is the quality and value of the brand in the eyes of the consumer?

  6. How credible is the brand in what it promises to do (competence, trustworthiness, and likability)?

  7. What is the level of brand consideration on the products (this means whether the consumer places the brand as part of the set options they would consider purchasing)?

  8. What is the level of brand superiority (uniqueness among peers)?

  9. What feelings does the use of the brand evoke on the consumers?

  • Warmth/ soothing

  • Fun

  • Specialness and energy (excitement)

  • Self-assurance, comfort and safety (security)

  • Social approval ( positive reaction from other people)

  • Self respect ( feelings accomplishment, pride, achievement)

  1. What is the financial performance of the brand?


Themarket research methodology to be adopted in this particular researchis a combination of both the primary market research and secondarymarket research methods.

Secondaryresearch methodology will be applied to find out the performance ofthe organization. Secondary research involves the use of informationthat has already been researched before and recorded in other formsof storage. Information retrieved from the internet, existing resultson previous research studies, existing data from the stock lists andcustomer databases and information retrieved from agencies such asgovernment agencies, industry bodies, local councils, and libraries.Despite the fact that finding the right information may prove to be achallenge, the data retrieved will give the researcher amplebackground information to assist in understanding the brand more.Secondary data will also be simpler to analyze as opposed to primarydata because it has already been analyzed, or is in the process ofbeing analyzed.

Inregards to the research at hand, the secondary market research shallhelp in gathering information on the financial performance of theLush Cosmetics brand. One of the measures of the strength or weaknessof brand equity is a consistently strong financial performance withina reasonable period of time.

Theprimary market research method will make use of surveying as themeans of collecting data. Owing to the fact that cosmetics are moreor less personal products, conducting surveys is the most appropriatemethod to gather information from consumers. The surveys will beconducted to gather information from those using the brand and thosenot using the brand. This will give a clear view of brand recognitionand loyalty of the public. Using surveys as a means of datacollection is appropriate for measuring the brand equity of LushCosmetics because of the large sample of participants expected. Thiswill make it difficult to conduct face to face or telephoneinterviews since it will limit the number of respondents that can beengaged.

Theresearch shall make use of in-person and online surveys. In-personsurveys shall assume be carried out in the Lush outlets and any otheroutlets stocking Lush products. Due to the fact that shoppers arenormally limited in time, there shall only be a few open-endedquestions asked. Despite being few, they shall be comprehensive in away that they incorporate a number of factors in one question. Overthe weekends and evenings, the amount of information sought could beextended since the respondents have more time and may be more willingto speak to the interviewers. The preference is on in-person surveysbecause in addition to generating immediate feedback to theresearcher there is an increased response rate in comparison to manyother forms of surveys e.g. online and telephone surveys. Accordingto proven statistics, face to face interviews and surveys generateresponse rates of more than 90 percent. However, they are costly inregards to the amount of resources used in terms of labor, time andfinancial resources.

Onthe other hand, online surveys provide unreliable data andunpredictable response rates. This is mainly due to the fact that theresearcher has no control over respondents. Despite the shortcomings,though, the research shall make use of online surveys because theyare simple to administer and less costly in gathering information.Due to the lack of face to face challenge, consumers are not afraidto offer prejudiced evidence thereby it is assumed that honestconsumer opinion and preferences are better collected online.Personal responses to surveys may sometimes be at odds with actualconsumer behavioral patterns. For this reason, therefore theresearcher will install observation points at the stores to observethe actual buying habits and how the consumers actually compareproducts. This will give more accurate picture of usage habits andshopping patterns.


Dueto the magnitude of information required and the number ofrespondents required to provide the true picture of the research, theproject is expected to take a period of at least six months. Asstated earlier, there is no control over the respondents in themethods used to collect data and therefore some may take relativelylonger to respond, especially the online surveys. In addition, thereare many Lush stores countrywide whose input may be required at somepoint. Despite the fact that only a percentage of the stores shall besampled, interviewing random consumers walking into the store is anexercise that will take a long duration of time since not 100 % ofthem shall be willing to respond. In addition, there will be the needto recruit surveyors for the sampled outlets.

Ipredict that this research project will take a minimum of six monthsas stipulated in the following proposed rough timescale


Proposed time frame

Formulation of online survey questions

1 week

Formulation of face to face survey questions

1 week

Identification of sample stores

1 week

Request for participation of the stores

1 week

Receiving of responses from the stores

2 weeks

Recruitment of surveyors

1 week

Installation of cameras in designated stores

2 weeks

Sending out online surveys

Continuous exercise

Posting of surveyors in the stores

1 week

Collection of data

4 months

Data analysis

1 month

Total number of months

7 months 1 week


Thesurvey procedures, as stated, are very costly in terms of labor, timeand financial resources. This is due to the fact that the surveyscannot be carried out by an individual person but has to includeadditional personnel for the data collection and data analysis tasks.The staff assisting in the collection of data in stores shall not beutilized for data analysis once the surveying exercise is completed.This is due to the fact that the procedure may pose a problem ofdistance and commuting from their home areas. With this in mind, theemployees in the stores shall be sourced from the locality of thestores they will be working in.

Theexact number of employees to be engaged for the project is 160. 140of these will be stationed in the stores to carry out face to facesurveys while 20 will be stationed at the data collection centre toassist in data analysis. The data analysis process will be acontinuous process which will require the interviewers to send dailyreports to the data collection center. Below is the proposed budgetallocation for the entire project.




Estimated Amount in $


Hiring of office space (7 months), furniture, electricity, and fixtures

7, 000


Recruitment exercise

2, 200


Staff wages and salaries

28, 700


Costs of communication (phones and credit)

5, 400


Hiring of laptops for collection of data

12, 000


Transport costs

6, 000


Stationery and printing

1, 300


Staff training costs

3, 730


Expert consultancy services

7, 200


Sundry utilities and miscellaneous expenses

10, 000

Total estimated costs

83, 530


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