The Body Shop’s UK collapse: Brand values have been sadly diluted

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Customer experience expert gives her take on how it all went wrong for the once-powerful global company that lost its brand values.

The collapse into administration of the ethical cosmetics and beauty brand, The Body Shop, in its flagship UK market has raised questions about the brand’s future in other markets as well, including South Africa. 

Photo: The Body Shop


But national retail group Clicks, which operates The Body Shop in SA under a long-term franchise agreement in place since 2001, has stepped forward to reassure local consumers it will be business as usual. 


This also covers the supply chain and product manufacturing, so nothing will change, Clicks spokesperson Graeme Lillie is quoted as saying by the Daily Maverick news publication. 


But how did the brand strategy go wrong for the company founded in Britain in 1976, and which subsequently grew to around 3,000 stores in 60-plus countries? 


In an interview with radio station Kaya FM, South African-based customer experience expert, Nathalie Schooling, gave her insights on the failed brand strategy. 


Ethical principles and the fight against exploitation 


“The Body Shop had a great story. Started by the late Dame Anita Roddick in Brighton in the 1970s, the company stood for ethical principles and the fight against exploitation,” said Schooling, who is CEO of the agency Nlightencx. 


“With all the changes in ownership over the years, these brand values have sadly been diluted, and the loyal customer base has not stood for it.” 


Changing hands three times in the last seven years, the cosmetics and beauty group lost touch with the eco-shopper and, over time, people fell out of love with the brand, Schooling believes. 


“The skincare retailer lost its way. You can’t pull the wool off the eyes of today’s savvy customer. When companies scale and forget their authentic purpose, they lose what makes the brand unique and, in turn, the respect of their customers.” 


According to a report on Sky News yesterday (Tuesday, 20 January), The Body Shop is closing half of its UK stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk. 

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.