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. Product 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) Price 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. Furthermore, the cost of production of the BS products may be higher because of fair trade issues with local communities. But critiques say that the “Trade not Aid” projects are simply a marketing tool and that not even 1% of the sales go to the projects. (www. mcspotlight. org) Promotion The BS way of advertising has mostly been done through indirect advertising.
Indeed, by associating themselves to Greenpeace or the save the whales project or by doing fare trade with indigenous communities for example, journals, newspapers and magazines have written about the company’s products, campaigns and beliefs without the company actually carrying out or spending any money into promotion campaigns. The BS believes that beauty is reality and strongly disagrees on the advertising campaigns trying to glamorise their products – ‘We're saying our products will moisturize, cleanse and polish; they will not perform miracles. (Mrs Galanti, 1997). This was stated in 1997 after the release of a rare mainstream campaign called “Love your body” due to increased competition in the marketplace. The Body Shop also makes extensive use of its web site, delivery lorries and shop windows to communicate its campaigns and beliefs. Packaging is also a way of promoting a product. By showing consumers that the BS is involved in recycling plastic bottles used in the packaging of a product for example, it positions itself furthermore in the customers mind as being an environmentally caring organisation.
It also tried to push consumers to use refills but the impact of this campaign was minimal. Furthermore the BS also called for more people to recycle their old mobile phone. (Mintel, 2004) Place The BS looks closely at the store location, as customer accessibility to the store is very important. They are usually located on high streets, in department concessions depending on important factors of accessibility such as parking, visibility or even public transport. Stores are usually arranged as a boutique layout with products arranged according to their function.
The atmosphere of the BS retail outlets is relaxed and sympathetic, inherent to the overall design of the BS shops. There is plenty of information on ingredients and the origin of the product available to the customer. Furthermore the BS rapid growth and international expansion was helped through franchising. Finally, the rise in demand for ethical products has provided many opportunities for marketers. Dame Anita Roddick, was one of the first to point that out and through product innovation and brand reputation, she managed to build a multinational company from virtually nothing.
However, today’s cosmetic market has highly evolved and is far more competitive than it used to be. The challenge for the company is to revitalise its retail outlets, improve their product offer and brand communications in order to grow store sales and invest in employee development and customer service. 2) Markets within an economy rapidly change offering opportunities for companies to increase profit and to expand. The marketer’s job is to react to these changes and put the company in the right direction.
The organic food market for example has grown rapidly with consumers increasing spending on “ethical” food by 800 million to approximately ? 5. 6 billion in 2006 (“Ethical consumerism report 2006”- Co-operative bank). Furthermore, most developed countries are seeing a rise in organic produce, ‘The organic market has boomed in recent years, growing by 25% annually on average’ - (www. timesonline. co. uk). These figures show us that the organic movement is moving on a global scale with an increase in consumer interest in how and where food is produced.
It could be said that the rise in the demand for organic products is due to the rising average age and due to media spotlight. Indeed, media are constantly focusing on the consequences of climate change and on how the earth’s resources are being depleted pushing fellow human beings to act more responsibly and ethically in what food products they buy. This has lead people to believe that by eating organic food, a person will stay healthy – ‘studies in 2006 and 2007 have found higher levels of Vitamin C in organic fruit and 68 per cent higher levels of omega-3 in organic whole milk than non-organic whole milk. (www. bbc. co. uk). On the other hand, with more elderly people in the UK after the baby boom of the early 50’s, the market is likely to see people buying organic/healthy food rather than GM food offering new opportunities to marketers in terms of how to advertise and promote their products. This could be done through promotional campaigns aimed at elderly people, informing them of the availability of organic food in their respective supermarkets or by associating the organisation to environmentally friendly associations such as Greenpeace and beneficiate of indirect advertising.
To be the first to come into a customers mind as being an organisation which cares about the environment would definitely give the company a strong competitive advantage. Two of the major leading supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury have both recognised these changing consumer needs and have introduced organic food and organic policies within their stores - ‘To meet this growing demand Sainsbury’s has re-launched its organic range as Sainsbury’s SO organic and is committed to broadening the appeal of and extending its comprehensive range of organic foods. ’ (www. jsainsburys. co. uk).
Additionally, Sainsbury has recently ‘banned the use of palm oil from unsustainable sources in its own-brand products’ which has been argued by Greenpeace as a “positive first step” towards the end of the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest (www. marketingweek. co. uk). Another way of promoting the organisation could be to introduce fair trade products in our supermarkets aisles. This would not necessarily be done in a profit objective scheme but instead to show customers the organisation’s involvement in helping local communities even though profits could be made if an appropriate marketing strategy was applied.
Another important factor to consider is packaging as it can be used for promotional purposes. This could give them an advantage over rival companies that may not sell organic food. Additionally, organisation could also concentrate on creating “greener friendly” packaging – ‘A UK company has launched a new range of convenience food packs manufactured from biodegradable plastic. ’ – showing their awareness of the influence they have on the environment and their dedication to play a role in conserving the planet. (http://www. foodanddrinkeurope. com).
The difficulty for the marketer will be to set attractive and adequate organic packaging at the lowest possible prices. This brings us to price considerations. Organic food is without a doubt more expensive to produce and sell than non-organic food giving the marketer the difficult challenge of setting a competitive price with rivals and at a level that still sees the company being profitable. It is also important that marketers are aware of how much people are willing to pay for organic food in order to maximise profits. Moreover, prices are set to increase as ‘exceptionally high market growth rates are causing demand to outpace supply. (http://www. organicmonitor. com) On the other hand, The Food Standard Agency and scientists still believe that organic food as a whole, is not necessarily healthier for a person than GM food – ‘there is no scientific evidence to suggest organic food is healthier’ (www. guardian. co. uk). Furthermore, Chefs such as Gordon Ramsay argue that organic food is overpriced and questions its authenticity ‘The problem with organic food is that it has become hip and trendy, overhyped, overpriced and inconsistent. Unfortunately there is now a snob factor attached to it. ’ (www. timesonline. co. k) On this point, marketers will have to make sure that they undertake effective advertising campaigns as well as detailed branding and packaging to promote their products as being healthier than other foods in order to maintain high sales. The reason the organic market has grown so much in the last decade is definitely due to a rise in ethical consumerism. Indeed, after some companies were exposed by the media to how they really operated – i. e. illegal sweatshops for example- and the constant media coverage on the damage caused by humans to the earth, saw consumers take a more ethical approach to purchasing.
This why it is so important to show consumers that the organisation is active in sustaining the earth and its resources. Today, the image of the company should be of first importance to marketers. Tesco and other supermarkets have already revised their strategy and offer for example to use plastic bags more than once- “Tesco claimed that shoppers had used one million bags less than they would normally expect. ” (www. recycling-guide. org. uk). J Sainsbury’s reacted by cutting back on carbon emissions produced by their outlets- “We are currently looking at the big picture regarding carbon emissions and the part Sainsbury's play in that.
We have been extremely proactive over the last 10 years on all aspects of energy efficiency. ” (Alison Austin, 2007). All these supermarket behaviour changes are done in the objective to remain competitive. Marketers understand that if their company is seen to be “green” then it is likely to be successful in the market. Finally, whichever strategy marketers do choose to adopt, it will eventually determine their level of success in an ever changing society which now focuses on being ethical and more aware of the environment. Bibliography Anon. , November 2007, “Food matters”, BBC. Anon. , March,2006, Body Shop at a glance, FT. om, London, pg 1. Anon. , June 2003,Anita Roddick, Director, London, Vol. 56(11), pg. 60. Anon. , August 2007, Growth opportunity for organic market, Retail world, Vol. 60(16), pg. 22. Brassington F. and Pettitt S. , 2003, Principles of Marketing. 3rd ed. , Pearson Education Limited. Callan E. , May 2006, L’Oreal says it is content with Bady Shop’s ethics GENERAL REATILERS; 1st Ed. , Financial Times, London (UK), pg. 17. Coles A. , Harris L. , 2006, Ethical Consumers and e-Commerce: The Emergence and Growth of Fair Trade in the UK, Journal of Reasearch for Consumers, Crawley: (10), pg. , 6 pgs. Guthrie J. , September 2007, Activist who inspired a business generation; [LONDON 2ND EDITION], Financial Times, London (UK), pg 21. Marketing Week, September 2007, Ehtical consumerism: Lacking in green conviction, London: pg 28. Marketing Week, January 2007, Market research: Unlock the power of brands, London: pg 23 Jack L. , November 2007, Greenpeace backs Sainsbury’s palm oil ban as a ‘first step’, London, Marketing Week. Hofman M. , April 2001, Anita Roddick: The Body Shop International, established in 1976, Inc. Boston: Vol. 23, Iss. 5; pg. 61, 1pgs.
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