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Strategic Messaging: It’s Not All About Looking Pretty

Protecting the planet. Against animal-cruelty. Beauty with heart. How many cosmetics companies can you name with these core values and more behind their brand? I can only think of one.

The Body Shop puts people, animals, and the planet first in everything they do. Their key strategic messages are simple enough:

  1. every product is made with all-natural, raw ingredients (100% vegetarian)
  2. products are community fair-trade certified from around the world
  3. against animal-testing and cruelty

Pride. Equality. Humanity. These are established and meaningful ideas that resonate with us as human beings. Strategically, The Body Shop uses their key messages to strike a cord with us on a human level, something that many companies miss the mark on. Tie that into consistent and easy-to-understand branding and you’ve got yourself the coveted “sells-itself” product

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The devil’s advocates out there would say “The Body Shop promotes all of these humanitarian issues and all-natural branding as an easy way to make money, which is all they care about.”

Obviously The Body Shop wants to make money. It has to make money. But what’s the harm in doing some feel-good things along the way to create a better brand? If anything, there’s more harm done if they don’t do something creative and feel-good. It helps that The Body Shop is actually supporting the issues that they are affiliating themselves with. Otherwise, their key messages wouldn’t be key messages, let alone relevant ones.

But this is how The Body Shop does it well.

  • Awareness – The Body Shop creates basic awareness through it’s products and packaging, and retail options.
  • Motivation – The all-important WIIFM principle (What’s In It For Me?) is obvious in their values.
  • Instruction – “Sign the petition to stop animal cruelty”, “Support a 3rd world community just by making a purchase”. Basically cues to help customers invest in the cause that they want through the product.
  • Action – Offer rewards and discounts combined with the purchasing support. In this case, The Body Shop has a Love Your Body Membership. This gives further incentive for customers to continue supporting your cause.
  • Habit – Traditional and online media channels can help with this. For example, The Body Shop engages their brand ambassadors (usually a lot of Body Shop-loving customers) while using social media.

Being a thrifty and emotionally-driven millennial, I’m all for a company that gives me more than I expect from a shopping experience. The same can be said for the rest of modern-day civilization who are also looking for a cosmetic free of chemicals and additives (Awareness). The Body Shop may not be inexpensive, but I don’t feel as bad spending extra to support great causes and build a relationship with a company I feel good doing business with (Motivation). I once bought some of their Tea Tree facial products so that I could make a purchase and then I could donate part of my purchase to a cause of my choice: I saved polar bears that day (Instruction). And on top of it all, I get points that will give me further discounts to purchase more products at a reasonable monetary value (Instruction & Action). Now, The Body Shop products are all I use in my face-cleansing regimen and moisturizing (Habit).

In other words, it’s a win-win-win for The Body Shop, the ever-conscious customer, and the world. Not necessarily in that order.

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