Playing on its strengths, The Body Shop shares its exciting new direction
Growing up in the 1990s I had my fair share of beauty memories associated with The Body Shop. From filling up my tiny glass bottle of Rose Musk fragrance (they were early adopters of recycling) to dabbing Tea Tree Oil on any imperfections, The Body Shop was the go-to brand for any budding beauty lover. Fast forward to 2015 and the brand wants to remind its faithful, as well as new users, about its pioneering spirit, green and community-minded philosophy, and British irreverance — along with its great products, of course.
Founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop has always been about using high-quality natural ingredients, eschewing animal testing, and giving back to the earth in a larger way. In the brand's relaunch press event held in The Hanging Gardens in Ubud, The Body Shop International's general manager, Arnaud Jeanteur, is the first to admit that the brand may have lost its way amidst the hundreds of new 'natural' brands popping up over the past 15 years.
But as the original green brand, The Body Shop has the breadth and depth of experience, the networks and the know-how to really offer their customers that something extra. Jeanteur highlights that the brand is now back on track, having identified its key strengths and consolidated its product offerings. "We are obsessed with being true to who we are and there is no other brand that has such a complete personality."
Six key dimensions characterise the brand's identity. First, the use of the finest, natural ingredients, from the best extracts to identifying the most optimal extraction methods. Second, The Body Shop continues to scour the world for inspiration for its ingredients, products and rituals. This is most evident in its revamp of the Spa of the World range that features ingredients and tools inspired by different spa and bath rituals practiced around the world. The brand also wants to be known for its generosity, using its business for good via channels like its community farming projects which offers a fair price to suppliers of raw materials.
The fourth aspect the brand wants to emphasise is the feel good factor that you get from entering a store and using their products, thanks to the indulgent textures and uplifting scents. In addition, The Body Shop is also dead set against the fake advertising claims that many brands resort to. Aiming to be authentic in every way, you won't be seeing exaggerated claims and heavily-retouched brand images. The brand has no plans to work with any famous models for its campaigns because, "The Body Shop is about diversity of people, faces and beauty. We are more about having a diverse community of people than having just one face," explains Jeanteur.
Finally, it will also be banking on another major strength that admittedly went untapped for several years. The brand wants to play up its English irreverance in its communication, showing that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Look for this in its cheeky visuals and witty campaigns like its 2015 Mother's Day brand video that hilariously spoofed a day in the life of the Royal Family and its clever new visual for its Italian Summer Fig scent (above) that encourages customers to kiss French, but wear Italian.
The Body Shop is also branching out to more luxurious products like its Oils of Life skincare range that uses 99 per cent natural, cold-pressed, seed oils to nourish the skin and protect it against the signs of ageing. "The texture is superb and it has a natural affinity to the skin," says Jeanteur, who is confident that consumers will love the easily-absorbed oils.
Still the brand will not be forgetting its roots, keeping products affordable despite the high quality, and not shelving old favourites that customers have grown to love. "People are still buying our signature Tea Tree Oil," says Jeanteur. "The Body Shop is a great brand today because we had great products in the past. "