Anita Roddick created the body shop in 1976 with the objective of opening an environmentally conscious cosmetic store. Today, the Body Shop (BS) has grown from being a single “hippie” store in England to a multinational company with over 2265 stores in 50 countries enjoying sales of £820,000 in 2006/2007 period. (mintel 2006) People say that “one person cannot make a difference” but Anita Roddick proved it wrong by sticking to here ideals and ideas of doing business. This extract from the Body Shop’s mission statement ‘to dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change’ (www.thebodyshop.co.uk), shows us how she created a new way of dealing with customer needs and wants. She saw it as a better option to put customer and society in the first place and by doing so, gain sales for good conduct. This way of doing business was not only proved to be extremely successful but many marketers followed the BS concepts, attempting to maximise potential profit by imitating Dame Anita Roddick’s set of ideals or values. Throughout this essay, we will investigate how Anita Roddick successfully used marketing tools to promote her chain of shops and her strong principles and see how today’s businesses can follow Roddick’s footsteps in successfully targeting the emergence of new consumer groups in the organic food market.
Anita Roddick’s BS has not been an immense success for no reason. An explanation of the BS general success in world markets is that she was one of the pioneers in developing a more ethically based business. We will have a look at how she maximised the 4 P’s (product, place, promotion and price) to promote her chain of shops and strong principles.
The BS sells and produces cosmetics and toiletries made from natural ingredients all over the world targeting principally women with a medium to high income and with deep social conscience and commitment. Its product range can be divided into eight categories each including a range of quality products. Each body lotion, shampoo, bath & shower gel, etc. comes in different sizes in recycled, recyclable or biodegradable packaging. The Product Life Cycle of the BS is still in the growing stages as competition is still increasing due to an increase in interest in the industry’s potential. Furthermore, the market is continuously evolving as more and more people become more ethically aware. Branding is very important as it differentiates the company from other skincare companies. Anita Roddick managed to create a brand which positioned itself as promoting good environmental ethics at a time where Europe was becoming “greener”, strongly differentiating itself from companies looking to increase profits at any legal cost to the environment and to society. But since the French cosmetic giant L’Oreal bought the BS, BrandIndex measured a drastic drop in the ratings of BS reputation. Even though, the company promised to keep its ethical cosmetic brand intact, the public’s opinion on the BS did not take long to change. (http://www.brandrepublic.com)
The Body Shop has been able to set premium prices because of the assumption that people would be willing to pay more for a product which they think is contributing to social and ethical issues. The fact that the BS is involved in issues such as fair trade, animal testing and has strong environmental views gave them the competitive advantage of product differentiation. But since competitors such as Boots or Bath & Bodyworks in the states have started their own natural product range at prices below the BS, profits have decreased in comparison to previous years. From 2002 to 2003 sales grew by only 5% compared with competitors whose sales rose by 27% in the same period. It could also be said that the BS prices are in the mid market pricing range as there are products more expensive such as for example Boots natural-based products but much cheaper than Chanel or Estee Lauder beauty products....
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