A recipe for change

While The Body Shop was distinctive when it first appeared on the scene - with its profits-with-principles mantra, for example - several competitors have 'Out Body Shopped The Body Shop' in the U.S., says Sonya Schroeder, senior strategic planner at The Geppetto Group, a youth marketing consultancy based in New York. She believes there is still time for The Body Shop to revive its image with teens. Below is her remedy for the struggling retailer.

While The Body Shop was distinctive when it first appeared on the scene – with its profits-with-principles mantra, for example – several competitors have ‘Out Body Shopped The Body Shop’ in the U.S., says Sonya Schroeder, senior strategic planner at The Geppetto Group, a youth marketing consultancy based in New York. She believes there is still time for The Body Shop to revive its image with teens. Below is her remedy for the struggling retailer.

Products

A simple way to update the brand is by changing the names of products so that they are more intriguing to youth, something The Body Shop has failed to do. Schroeder points to beauty brand Philosophy as an example of success with this strategy. For instance, its Cookbook Baked Goods is a set of lotions with playful, yummy monikers like Cinnamon Buns, Banana Nut Bread and Pumpkin Pie. Also, since teens enjoy interaction, Schroeder suggests allowing them to customize products in store, by allowing them to add, for example, their own level of SPF or glitter to lotion.

Packaging

‘Teens are a visual group …packaging is everything to them,’ says Schroeder. ‘Packaging gets them in the door.’ Philosophy, which has a retail price point that is similar to The Body Shop, packaged its Baked Goods flavours in a box that actually resembles a cookbook. On the other hand, The Body Shop continues to throw items into a gift basket, wrapping them together in cellophane, which has become ‘a boring commodity.’

As for the bottles and tubes, Schroeder says the large chain should take a cue from Fresh, which has stand-alone stores in the U.S. and also sells through high-end retailers like Barneys. The packaging is chic, streamlined and modern – think tall, thin glass bottles.

Marketing

A buzz needs to be developed from the ground up. Schroeder suggests driving a bus across the country, making pit stops at teen parties and functions, like Tommy Hilfiger did when it launched its cosmetics line, because it enables girls to test the goods and creates word-of-mouth support. The Body Shop should also bolster its grassroots efforts by sponsoring environmental awareness days, for instance, and hosting in-store activities for teens.

However, Schroeder doesn’t believe the company should rush into any mainstream advertising. ‘They need to make changes, get the word out and then think about it…so that by the time a campaign is out there, teens feel like they’ve discovered [the brand] on their own.’ LD