Body Shop has to maintain its exemplary customer service in its stores, especially since the customer experience in the store forms part of the branding of Body Shop products. An often forgotten facet is the convenience of the store location, which also figured as a factor which exceeded the expectations of patrons. This may again be leveraged on for brand building. Consistent with the assertions of Kotler (2003), brand building involves a gamut of interdependent factors, which says everything about what Body Shop represents.
This evidently includes the customer service received by the client when inside a Body Shop branch. He further asserts that customer service is perhaps the most important device for brand building. As this is a factor which has exceeded expectations of Body Shop patrons, it simply needs to maintain this asset to remain competitive. Exemplary customer service can breed loyalty among its clientele (Kotler 2003). Yet another factor which exceeded the expectations of patrons was the variety of cosmetic offerings by Body Shop.
This is especially critical in the UK setting since women in Britain are the highest users of make-up in the whole Europe, about 93% of the population (Ending the Cosmetics 2008). In fact, the sales of cosmetics, toiletries and perfumes rose to 4. 1% from 3. 5%, giving the market a value of â‚¬64. 6bn (Montague-Jones 2008). Big names in the cosmetics industry dominate the market with LOreal leading the way. Variety is also a concern of the company.
Since LOreal took over The Body Shop, the company is expected to stand out as it expands its product range to natural products (Euromonitor International 2008). This is again a facet which they can further leverage on for continued competitive advantage. Packaging is also a strength of Body Shop. It has successfully built a green brand and this is strongly reflective of its natural packaging. The natural packaging of Body Shop logically tells patrons that the product has been made from natural or oganix ingredients.
There is some anxiety over the accuracy of natural and organic labelling, although the results of the current research show that Body Shop is not in question. For instance, Paul Lieber, cosmetic chemist, expressed that physically possible for more 30-40% of the ingredients to be organic, unless its organic oil, for the simple reason that conventionally 60-70% of a product is water which cannot be certified organically grown. (Farlow 2006). Because there are no such accusations of Body Shop products, there packaging and label information are perceived to be authentic and accurate.
Moreover, Body Shop is also wary about indicating whether product may cause allerfic reactions. While other competitor brands struggle to promote an image of natural and being environmentally friendly, Body Shop has been at the forefront of the race. They always ensure that there is information on the front of the label about the health and safety of the ingredients inside the package (Farlow 2006). The foremost feature of Body Shop as a busines entity is the appeal of its noble thrusts or cause.
This is attested to by the results of the survey, which suggest that it has exceeded expectations of clients in terms of the quality of their products and its natural appeal. These indicate that it has effectively used cause branding, an approach in branding where a company supports a cause to be able to increase profits or to set it apart from competitors (Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications 2007). It has gone into the league of such programmes as Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, ConAgra Foods Feeding Children Better Program, Reeboks Human Rights Awards and Rockports Fitness Walking Program.
While promotional activities are there only for the short term, cause marketing forms part of the brand, as a long-term initiative. They have been successful at making the Body Shop brand tantamount to caring for the environment and for promoting authentically natural products (Evergreen & Partners 2005). Moreover, Body Shop has effectively promoted corporate social responsibility through its various community activities and environmental programmes. These various causes have helped spell its solid brand (Evergreen & Partners 2005).
The values of Body Shop have been instrumental in creating its successful brand, and the results of the current research have supported this. Not only has it been successful at creating a corporate brand, it has also been effective at creating a successful employer brand. VersantWorks (2008) asserts tht with the uptend in new resources such as technology, the core asset of any enterprise remains to be its manpower. Thus, as Body Shop competes with increasingly effective competitors, its must attract competent key people through its appeal as an employer.
It must thus maintain its credible standing among its stakeholders current employees, potential hires, and previous staff about the company as place of work (Harris 2002), as Body Shop being a great place to work. This shall continually instill in them pride in being part of the company, engagement, and belongingness (VersantWorks 2008). This trend of advocating exemplary corporate values for creating an employer brand is expected to continue for Body Shop, with its acquisition by LOreal.
The latter has in fact been nominated as among the Fast Moving Consumer Goods FMCG Employer of Choice (Employer Profile 2008). It has also been espousing employee development explicitly through its website; they likewise offer a secure workplace, performance is given credit, a diverse culture, and where privacy and private life are valued (As An Employer 2008). What makes this strategy work for the company is because LOreal knows who it wanted to hire and focus the HR endeavor to accomplish the task (Klein 2008), something that they are likely to infuse further in Body Shop.
Factors which Matched Patrons Expectations. There are no significant differences on the following items: brand; the degree to which the product is environment friendly; and positive feedback garnered from significant others. These suggest that Body Shop has met expectations of the respondents based on the degree of importance they have attached to each factor. Body Shop has matched its patrons expectations in terms of being a well known, globally acknowledged brand. Overall, they have not only raised awareness about their products, but have also been able to address the personal needs of their clientele (Lake 2003).
They have been able to espouse a character to which the clients have related and associated themselves to (Klein 2008). In total, the opinions and interface of their customers with the Body Shop brand have been positive, and have allowed them to remain competitive (Lake 2003). Still among the reasons for their success if their effectiveness in building a corporate band. Body Shop has created brand loyalty where customers look for products under that company or under the Body Shop brand name (Crystal 2003).
To this point, Body Shop continues to leverage on being an environmentally friendly enterprise, which is also one of the factors which matched the expectations of its patrons. Inf act, in collaboration with Adi Maimalaga Tafunai , executive director of Samoas NGO Women in Business Inc. , the Body Shop was instrumental with the launching of Samoas coconut oil to the world last year. September 2008, through the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, will be the launching of the organic standards for the agricultural produce in the Pacific regions, a cooperative work the NGO and New Zealand and Pacific expertise.
Tafunai expresses complying with organic standards is always a major issue especially for agricultural exports and this undertaking will add value to the small quantities of agricultural produce for export (Radio New Zealand International 2008). Moreover, Body Shop promotes other advocacies apart from environmentalist. For example, it has commemorated International Friendship Day last August 3 by launching their For Me, For You shea butter lip care two-packs”a special edition launched late last month on July 28th ”preservative-free balm retails for $15.
All profits from each sale are donated to entities like Alice Housing through the Canadian Womens Foundation in support of its endeavor to help women and children who are victims of domestic violence (Webb-Campbell 2008). The women respondents in the present study have also expressed receiving positive feedback about the Body Shop brand from significant others. These results suggest that women are strongly influenced by reference groups, family, and role and status within the society.
Moreover, a reference group could be a single person or a group of people that an individual consults when developing personal standards (Consumer Behavior 2008). These further indicate that their significant others expectations about Body Shop products have been met as well, and they were strongly influenced to adopt the same set of standards (Consumer Behavior Social 2008). For instance officemates or friends show or introduce the latest trend, convincing their significant others that this good; consequently, purchase is impacted on by this feedback.
In addition, Heath and Bryant (2000) suggested that when consumers buy things like cosmetics, they ask friends and family first prior to buying. The information and views expressed by these close relations have as much influence on whether the purchase will be made as the consumers own needs, inclinations and knowledge. Such is more applicable when a consumer is uncertan about what to buy; in such cases, they are likely to heed what they perceive as socially acceptable, especially by those who are significant to them (Heath & Bryant 2000).
Factors which Did not Match Patrons Expectations. In contrast, the following factors are those in which Body Shop did not quite meet client expectations based on the degree of importance they have assigned to each: competitive price of the product; trendiness or fashion sense represented by the product; and the sales promotions used for the product. Price, trendiness and sales promotions have to be beefed up further by Body Shop to be able to entice more clients and to maintain the loyalty of its patrons.
While clients are willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products, clients are growing increasingly price-conscious. Moreover, while its popularity cannot be denied, it has still managed to elect a marketing entity to manage its affiliate marketing programmes in the UK. This suggests that it is still conscious about the need to further promote the products even if it has already gained a niche in the market. It has thus elected TradeDoubler, the pan-European digital marketing company, to exclusively oversee its trade marketing programme in the UK (e-Consultancy 2008).