Body Shop and Marketing Since Its Inception  Essay

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Body Shop and Marketing:

Since its inception, The Body Shop has continued to grow rapidly to an extent that it currently has more than 2,000 stores in approximately 54 countries. Currently, the company operates or conducts trading in more than 25 different languages and 12 time zones across the globe. The Body Shop is internationally recognized as a firm with a product range of over 1,200 products that include the popular Body Butters, accessories, gifts, fragrances, and magnificent make-up. The company has been able to sustainable business relationships with several communities worldwide through satisfying its demand for accessories, ingredients, and gifts in a fair method. The Body Shop's products manufactured with love for life and the world, individuality, commitment to fair trading, and community spirit. One of the core values of the firm is the belief that business has the ability to make suitable difference to the world necessitating the need to lead by example in order to convince others ("The Body Shop -- Company Profile," 2006).

The Extent with which Body Shop Became a Truly Marketing-Oriented Firm:

The global success of Body Shop's business operations can be attributed to the fact that it has developed to become a truly marketing-oriented firm throughout its history that stretches back to three decades ago. During the 1970s and 1980s, the organization grew rapidly as its founder, the late Dame Anita Roddick, publicly disregarded the role of marketing in business. Similar to her disregard of the financial community that she commonly described as merchant wankers, the firm's founder mocked marketers of exalting the interests of shareholders over societal needs. As a result, Roddick identified a new means of doing business as she attempted to prove her belief that organizations didn't need marketers. These attempts were particularly when things were going well and nobody seemed to care.

The Body Shop continued to disregard the value of marketing during its initial years of operations that were characterized with huge success and continued growth. During this period, its founder was the first to initiate the concept of socially and environmentally responsible business. Unlike many of the existing businesses, Roddick didn't choose the classic marketing route of understanding the trends of consumers and manufacturing suitable products with precise positioning. Therefore, the firm's successes during this period were attributed to its campaigning approach of pursuing both environmental and social issues.

However, there was a dramatic change in the company's marketing strategy in the late 1990s because of declining sales and the fall in its share price. These problems are associated with the company's failure to completely understand the dynamics of its marketplace and ineffective positioning strategies. This prompted several critics to react as some of them stated that the Body Shop could have avoided these problems if its founder didn't dismiss the need for marketing for a long period of time. The long-standing disregard of the role of marketing resulted in inability for the firm to invest enough resources to new product development, innovation, and refreshment of product range. Therefore, Body Shop was unable to move the business forward in the increasingly changing and competitive business environment (Palmer, n.d.).

After this decline, the company has been forced to adopt new approaches to marketing to an extent that it has developed into a truly marketing-oriented organization. The extent of this development is evident through various factors within the organization including

Commitment to Community Trade:

One of the core principles of the Body Shop business operations that direct its lobbying and campaign programmes is the support and commitment to community trade. In this case, the firm addressed issues that are directly relevant to the industry and/or its customers. Commitment to Community Trade is a reflection of the firm's transformation into marketing-oriented practices since it sources from local communities in remote areas. Through this, the company in turn manufactures high quality products for its customers making it to provide items in a socially responsible manner.

Creation of a Brand Image:

The extent of the Body Shop's development into a truly marketing-oriented company is its creation of a brand image with a difference. Throughout its history, the firm has created a brand image without the use of any conventional advertising strategies and methods. Actually, the company is differentiated from other traditional cosmetic brands through the established values and creation of the brand image based on the values. These values are its commitment and campaign for ethical, socially responsible, and environmental friendly strategies and initiatives.

In its initial years of operations, the Body Shop developed the brand through increased dependence on its founder's personality since it could not afford to advertise. The creation of the brand image was through the ability of Roddick to get free PR in relation to the environmental causes linked to the company (Burns, n.d.). Due to the environmental issues that were linked to the company, advertising could have been against the company's image. Since then the Body Shop brand is inevitably associated with its culture that is centered on ethical and environmental values and beliefs.

PR Activities:

Based on its beliefs and values, the firm's business operations and brand image are displayed in all its functions, especially its PR activities. The Body Shop capitalizes on every opportunity to express its beliefs and values that make it different and distinctive from its rivals. Consequently, the company's employees are normally given time off to work on the local social projects in order to promote its brand. The numerous PR activities has provided market entry for Body Shop that has enabled it to achieve a dominant market position since it's based on a strong vision and comprehensive corporate values. Since the Body Shop doesn't use advertising, it relies on PR and word of mouth to sell its diverse range of products.

Basic Marketing Lessons Adopted by the Body Shop:

Throughout its history, The Body Shop Company has developed to become an evolving retail brand identity that produces ethical beauty products and cosmetics. The success of the firm is largely associated with the focus of its founder on social issues and ethical consumption that promote product differentiation. However, the company adopted some basic lessons on marketing in its initial years of operations to enhance the possibility of long-term success. Some of the basic marketing lessons adopted by the Body Shop Company include:

Corporate Social Responsibility:

The Body Shop has continued to maintain a dominant market position because of its business and marketing strategy that is centered on the principle of corporate social responsibility. This marketing strategy has enabled it to enhance its reputation and value of products, which are some of the most important aspects of an organization. The use of the principle of corporate social responsibility at the firm is evident through its commitment to social issues and development of environmentally friendly products.

The organization's idea of beauty is directly and closely linked to nature and the need to acknowledge and respect it ("The Body Shop's CSR," 2010). Consequently, some of the organization's core values include supporting community trade and safeguarding the planet. Actually, the company mixes business with a commitment to social issues and encouraging both its workers and customers (Burlingham, n.d.).

Relationship Marketing:

One of the most important aspects of an organization's marketing strategies and practices is the need to understand the increasingly changing needs and expectations of customers. This is largely because customers are likely to be tempted if another company provides shiny products at lower prices. In order, for the company to understand these increasingly changing customer needs and expectation, it should engage in relationship marketing. Relationship marketing basically involves a company's ability to involve existing and new customers in developing products based on their feedback.

Relationship marketing can be regarded as a basic lesson in marketing that was adopted by the Body Shop in its initial years of operations to promote long-term success. The organization used this concept through its support of community trade, which is one of its core values. Body Shop engages its stakeholders, particularly its customers in order to develop and support comprehensive standards of business practice. The concept of relationship marketing is also evident through the firm's campaign on issues that are directly relevant to the industry and customers and encouraging its employees to volunteer their time in local action.

Moreover, the company sources from local communities through its Community Trade programme to allow the communities to trade directly with the organization. This enables the organization's suppliers to develop the livelihoods of these communities as they initiate educational and health benefits resulting in high quality products for consumers.

Product Differentiation:

As a result of its commitment to manufacturing products that meet customers' needs and expectations, the Body Shop has used product differentiation as a platform for long-term success. Unlike most of its competitors, the firm doesn't develop many of its products in laboratories and doesn't conduct experiments on animals for product safety. In contrast, this organization develops its products from either natural ingredients or those that have been used by people throughout…

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