The First Day

My day started at 6am(!) as I had to commute into London from Norfolk for a 10am start. Waiting for my supervisor I watched as people from France, Spain, Canada and Mexico arrived for meetings. I feel very privileged to have been among them.

The view from the London offices - it's a shame the Greenpeace protesters were on the other side!

The view from the London offices – it’s a shame the Greenpeace protesters were on the other side!

During the day I met people from different departments of The Body Shop – Campaigns, PR and Products.

Talking to the Campaigns Manager, I found out all about the Body Shop’s most recent campaign ‘Stop Sex Trafficking’ and their celebrations following the EU ban on animal testing. Both of which received huge media coverage and so could affect young people’s views of ethical trading.

Recipe for a successful Body Shop campaign to ensure maximum impact and likelihood that the campaign is followed up with government policies worldwide:

  • Partner with NGOs that are experts in the field
  • Make the campaign fun and empowering
  • Involve The Body Shop stores
  • Involve social media

Meeting the PR team was enlightening. They talked me through their relationship with the media. In terms of my research, I discovered that they treat bloggers the same as traditional media: both get information about new products, new producer stories and new campaigns. This suggests The Body Shop sees online media as just as important as other types – in my research I am looking into where people get information about ethical consumption, so this is very relevant.

Next up were two Category Product Managers – one responsible for the body and bath collections and the other for fragrances. Both were from a marketing background and so were focused more on the products than the ethical values, but as it was made clear to me, the ethical values are embedded from the concept to the formula to the event launch. They also explained their non-advertising policy – instead of spending money on advertising on TV or in newspapers, that money is used in their community fair trade investments.

Following this, I was invited to a ‘Climate Change and Agriculture’ meeting in a luxury hotel, which although wasn’t directly connected with my dissertation was fascinating.

From the people I met I obtained advice they have for undergraduates; here are the top 5:

  1. Volunteer and get involved with anything you’re passionate about
  2. Get exposure through internships and build networks
  3. If you take a gap year and you are interested in ethical trading, get some on the ground international development exposure so you have another perspective
  4. Ask for opportunities rather than waiting for them
  5. Don’t get too fixed on one career path – life is not predictable!

My first day was informative, successful and fun. I’m now planning my visit to The Body Shop’s headquarters at Littlehampton in early August. So you’ll probably hear from me then!

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