As an external consultant for the Body Shop, I will provide a detailed analysis of male toiletries consumption trends in the United Kingdom. The following report contains the marketing communication plan for male toiletries. The project also provides a contextual analysis of the existing target market segment. According to the report by Mintel (2014), there was a 1 % decline in male’s grooming in the United Kingdom, which resulted in the market changes. The hipster beard fashion has grown gradually in the UK over the last ten years; thus, there is a sharp decline in sales of men’s shaving goods. Although the hair removal and shaving markets have plateaued, other opportunities, such as body care and premium brand extensions, have surfaced.

External Audit

Macro Analysis

The four main macro external factors affecting the Body Shop in the UK are political, economic, social and technological factors (PEST).

Political Factors

Government regulations, laws, and policies can affect business activity and profitability of an enterprise. The UK government spending decreases more than a half compared to the previous five years (Gov.uk, 2015). The fall in spending will affect consumers’ behaviour because the willingness to spend will reduce. Thus, most families might choose to spend more on basic needs instead of cosmetics and toiletries. The Body Shop is also affected by the Food and Drug Administration (DFA) law in the UK, whereby all cosmetic manufacturers are required to give information regarding the ingredients they use in their products and the manufacturing process (U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2016). The approval process by FDA is time consuming, and the company has to wait for an official letter before entering the market. Another law affecting the cosmetics industry is the ban of cosmetics that use animal testing (BBC News 2016).

Economic Factors

Since the economic recession in 2011 in the UK, households have been suffering financially with debts. In a complicated economic situation, it is not advisable for the companies to develop sophisticated products for customers. More importantly, cosmetics firms should devise ways to attract more customers, such as discounting and promotion, or venturing into the new markets.

Social-Cultural Factors

Culturally, men assume that women should be the ones to use cosmetics. The perception has significantly affected the sales volumes of men toiletries. However, the skin care segment for men is expected to rise by 4 % by 2019 (Mintel 2014). Therefore, it is important to take advantage of the opportunity and create awareness of male cosmetics in the men’s market segment.

Technology

The improvement in the e-commercial sales method in the cosmetics industry provides a great potential for companies such as the Body Shop to reach a larger number of consumers. Many people can now shop online using their phones, tablets or computers. The firm can negotiate with customers through the online platform or even market their products on the Internet.

Micro External Analysis

Porters Five

Porter’s five forces is a model that helps a company to understand conditions in the industry, know the status of the competitors, and define the desired position.

Customers

The target market for the current communication plan is the male aged 25-34 years. The concern is that most men of the age bracket think that skin products are not necessary for them; hence, they should be consumed by women and men of the younger generation. Unlike the young males of 25 years and below, older men do not use skin care products regularly. Thus, it is important to create an integrated communication plan that creates awareness in the established market segment. The bargaining power of customers is not strong for male customers of between 25-34 years, since the number of consumers is small

Competitors

The main competitor for the Body Shop is the Bath & Body. The Body Shop runs 3000 stores nationwide, while Bath & Body operates more than 1600 stores in the United Kingdom. The market has a threat of new entrants as the producers of cosmetics are many in the country. However, the case is different in the online sales segment. Purchasing goods online poses challenges to traditional stores because the prices for products are more affordable online than in traditional shops.

Suppliers

The bargaining power of suppliers is essential in every industry, because the supply chain participants can influence quality, price, and quantity of the items. The bargaining power depends on the uniqueness of the product, cost of changing from one supplier to the other, and the number of available suppliers. The bargaining power of vendors in the cosmetic industry is low, since there are many vendors and businesses can shift from one supplier to the other. There is also a diversification in the supply chain because providers come from different parts of the world.

Internal Analysis/Audit

Portfolio Analysis

The Body Shop promotes its brand image by producing cosmetics that are not tested on animals, and they use vegetarian ingredients in their products. The company participates in campaigns that aim at bringing a difference to individuals and the environment (The Body Shop International PLC Values Report 2011). Moreover, the firm produces cosmetics for men and women of 16 years and above.

Current Marketing Mix 4/7Ps

Price

The Body Shop offers first-rate products at an affordable market price. It can afford to sell the products at a lower price because of its low sourcing costs. The Body Shop has a community trade program, where it buys high-quality raw materials from the disadvantaged communities. It uses a cost-based pricing strategy; thus, it can pass the benefits to its customers. However, it also employs the value-added pricing method to add a value to products and compete with rivals in the middle-price markets.

Place

The Body Shop sells its products online and in the physical stores. Online retailing saves time and energy for the customers and it also decreases the Body Shop stores construction costs. The firm operates 3000 stores in 60 countries (The Body Shop 2016).

Product

The Body Shop has a broad range of beauty products, which consists of makeups, skin care items, toiletries and accessories that are suitable for the UK market. The Body Shop produces skin care products of higher quantity than the other types of goods. The company has already introduced more than 600 health and beauty products and over 400 related accessories (The Body Shop International PLC Values Report 2011). Cosmetic products are in the category of specialty goods; thus, they have a strong loyalty and brand preference. Therefore, a customer will not change brand easily. The firm should attract more customers once they have an opportunity to maintain a lasting relationship.

Promotion

The Body Shop uses public relations to reach the customers. The strategy involves building a good corporate reputation, which correlates to the corporate social responsibility activities. Additionally, it sends newsletters to its members to inform them of the new products, stores, or promotions. The company also advertises its products through various online platforms. It also sells selective products at a discount to attract more customers.

Current Segmentation

The Body Shop uses quality and price elements in its segmentation. It produces a broad range of products and sells them at different prices to the various target markets. The Body Shop offers high-quality beauty products at a low-medium price. The product lines include men’s segment, bath and body care, make-up line, fragrance, and skincare.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is an important critical activity completed by the organisation to determine the future market condition as well as the essential components that are required to propel the company to the next level. SWOT analysis includes the evaluation of the strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats.

Strengths

The first element that requires analysis is the strength of the organisation. The strength of the firm may be the result of the financial ability, large customer base, qualified employees, and healthy organisational culture in the working area. The strengths of the business are the crucial elements because they create a competitive advantage in the market. The financial strength of the Baby Shop Toiletries enables it to open more store outlets with the aim of increasing the revenue. The growth in revenues results in development of the business entity. The management of the Body Shop creates a supportive environment, in which the employees work freely and improve the productivity. Technology is the other factor that has played a crucial role in enhancing the competitiveness of the business. Through the use of technology, the company is in a position to increase the sales. Moreover, the increase in productivity due to the utilisation of the technology enhances the level of service provision to the time conservative clients. The research by the American psychologist Firmansyah (2015) has proven that men are poor shoppers, and they require the shortest time to make the purchases of the commodities they require. The strengths of the firm are the tangible and intangible positive attributes to the customers. The elements are the core values of the organisation, and they bind all the employees together.

The firm is famous in sales of male products that make it unique because the competitive business entities offer the products that are mostly for women and kids. The aspect of specialising in the men products gives the firm a competitive advantage in the industry. The Body Shop Toiletries offer unique gentlemen products with a successful brand name in the market. It makes it easier for the clients to identify with the brand because of the positive image which attracts more clients. The customers can make impulse purchases which result in more revenues for the firm. The business requires investing in creating awareness of the existing different commodities offered by the organisation.

Moreover, the strength of the firm is the ownership of intellectual works. Intellectual properties include the patents, brands uniqueness and inventions by the firm that may increase the value of the organisation. The Body Shop Toiletries for Men range have a wide variety of intellectual property, which generates more revenue for the enterprise through the franchise of the distribution channels. The firm’s outlets are also a source of strength because it contributes to the capability of delivery to the market. The well-developed distribution channels positively correlate to the increase in revenue. The royalties received from the intellectual property play a crucial role in the development of the firm activities, because the additional funds support the day to day activities of the company. The Body Shop Toiletries have stood the test of time through the tough economic times in the European market. The economic challenges have resulted in the firm adopting stringent measures to counter decline in the revenue. The strategies include opening smaller outlets which require fewer employees, and lower operation cost in general. The survey done by Islam (2015) has shown that the economy will continue to grow and as a result, the business activities are likely to be robust and meet the demands of the firm through the engagement of technology and competent human resource.

Weaknesses

The weaknesses are the other key elements that require being addressed in the SWOT analysis. Weakness is the state of vulnerability that a firm faces. In the case of weakness, the company has to investigate its internal environment to diagnose the possible factors that may result in an occurrence of a loss. The internal environment is the main source of weakness for the organisational and business culture. Issues are the main reason for the occurrence of underperformance in the organisation. The Body Shop company has several weaknesses that result from the strategy to sell male products rather than targeting the family members of the unit. Selling products for one gender is a sign of discrimination. The phenomenon reduces the avenue, in which the organisation can work to acquire more revenue and increase its productivity. Male products take longer time on the shelves because many men are not shoppers like women. Therefore, the sales turnover is low compared to the other companies that have blended products in their outlets. To reach the competitive edge, the firm must include advertisement by the use of social media platform. The main benefit for the advertisement on social media is the ability to capture the attention of a vast number of platform users, who are willing to check out products (Jones 2011).
The financial position of the Body Shop Company is average, which means that the management has to look for an avenue to generate more capital to finance the expansion of the business activities in other geographical locations. The expansion to another region is necessary because of the diversification opportunity. The approach results in eliminating the risks posed by the concentration of the outlets in one economic block. The most suitable source of capital is the use of equity rather than debt because the cost of capital is lower and there is no loss of control.

Opportunities

In recent years, the market and consumer dynamics for the UK male toiletries market has allowed new companies and the well-established ones to gain a comprehensive insight of the current trends. The knowledge helped the organisations grow. It has been projected that the market volume is to increase tremendously, which is attributed to the economic growth. The current trends include a focus on male grooming and increased expenditure on appearance and grooming among the UK men. Some of the recent changes in the market include young adults exhibiting the need to use male toiletries as opposed to the older generation. The change in perceptions has created an excellent market opportunity for the Body Shop (Nellikunnel 2015). Experts in the industry have projected that the need to look good and stylish has led to the growing demand for male toiletries. Moreover, the invention of better quality products and affordability of goods contributed to the market changes.

Some of the activities that the company can take to seize the opportunity in the market are the production of premium goods as modern consumers search for innovative products. Marketers need to convince the older generation to use after and post shave products as they are the largest market for male toiletries. Currently, the majority of older men concentrate only on shaving. They need to convince the large market to experience the total thrill of shaving might increase the male toiletry demand for the company. In order to expand their portfolio in the market, the management should introduce an-all-in-one-pack option, which would be a significant move in improving demand for the products. The option assumes buying all the toiletries products in one bottle without having to purchase them differently. The strategy would take advantage of the already established market to sell products such as the post and after shave, which have a lower purchase rate (Srinivas 2015).

The company should focus on manufacturing innovative and high-end products to capture the huge market share, which is dominated by middle and high-income men. The market segment is gradually growing to become look-conscious. Moreover, they can spend significant sums on their products. Some of the opportunities in the male toiletries industry are the manufacturing of electric razors and other dry shavers, which result into providing the busy men with the flexibility of not wasting time on grooming. Manufacturing of such products would result in a healthy competitive advantage for the company by increasing the market volume and providing variety. Both the benefits are crucial in the industry. The type of packaging can also be interpreted as an opportunity. The reason is that the market has been dominated by flexible packaging, which was motivated with the large sales of the disposable blades. However, financial experts’ project that the trend will change in the nearest future due to the shift in consumer behaviour, which will lead to the need for rigid packaging. Also, there is growing need for the alternative products; thus, companies need to adapt to the changes, which include the form of packaging. The Body Shop needs to adjust to the opportunities, otherwise they will be at a disadvantage.

Currently, in order to survive the harsh economic times, mergers and amalgamation is proving to be the most effective technique. Thus, the Body Shop needs to have strategic partners, who will aid it in diversifying the operation to other potential markets. Mergers will provide the needed synergy to carry on business operations and outdo the competition. The management can outsource several activities that they may be a burden to the enterprise to other third parties. Activities involving logistics and distribution can be contracted out to improve the efficiency in goods delivery. Business-to-business cooperation is the emerging corporate trend, and the main reason is to increase competitiveness and remain relevant in the world of business. The Body Shop for male products requires aligning with other like-minded organisations to enhance the chances of having more market share within the economy (Nellikunnel 2015).

Threats

In recent years, the market has seen an influx of low price products from other companies. The aspect has had a tremendous effect on the local enterprises in the market for male toiletries. Even though the quality does not match the local content, it has lower income men opt for the cheaper alternative. Products such as after and pre-shaves from the foreign companies have been in high demand due to their reduced prices as compared to locally manufactured ones. Thus, it created a negative effect on the market volume for the local products. Consumers prefer the cheaper versions because they serve the same purpose as the more expensive ones. However, the quality is usually lower.

Competitors are also a significant threat, particularly in the methods of running their marketing strategy and advertising campaigns. Most rival organisations choose to advertise their products by showing the flaws of their competitive products. Thus, the Body Shop should protect its market share and reputation. The need to stay innovative is the other way that competitors may dominate the market; if the strategy is not exploited, it would lead to derailed growth and decrease in the market volume. The Body Shop Company needs to hire visionary professionals, who can study competitors, identify opportunities, and develop the business to secure the competitive advantage. Discounts and promotions as a marketing strategy employed competitors may affect the company’s market volume. The reason is that consumers tend to get attracted to discounts and promotions and may prefer products with special offers. As competitors introduce the discounts, the Body Shop Company should also develop counter offers and promotions to increase consumers’ interest and ensure healthy competition (Kruse 2009).

Government legislation presents another threat. The low prices for imported goods have been a major threat to the industry. Choosing to reduce tax for the imported goods is one of the legislation that affects the market share for male toiletries in the UK. The imports that enter the country at a lower price affect the sale of local products. The reduced market prices also decrease manufacturing prices, which in turn reduce the total gain collected by the male toiletries producers. Other government policies include the limiting of the market prices and the introduction of a price ceiling for male toiletries products. The legislation has significantly affected the UK companies in the industry.

Finally, some of the social changes that affect the male toiletries market are young men’s preference for the conservative ways of grooming. The change would result in reduced market volume for the products, especially after and pre-shaves. Men opting to visit barber shops are also posing a threat to the toiletries industry because of the reduced sales and purchases in the consumer market. There has been a high demand for convenience and style in the world. Thus, men with busy lives choose to have their styling done at designated places instead of having to add another chore every morning. Even though the professional places purchase the same products, there is a different professional grooming market.

Identification of a Target Segment/Market

The target market segment for the current marketing communication project is the men’s segment. Men have always believed that women are the ones who should use cosmetics. Thus, the sales in the segment are comparatively low. Moreover, the cosmetic industry has ignored the aging male market segment. However, according to Mintel (2014), male cosmetics products are expected to increase by 4 % by 2019. The shift is due to the changing behaviours of men, as they portray growing interests in exercises, treating the body, and preventing body odour. The Body Shop should also focus on the men’s aging segment because it has the untapped potential. The company should take into account the fact that men are not likely to change their everyday products frequently. The men tend to maintain product loyalty more than women. Unlike women, who base their purchasing decisions on research, men are influenced by their opinion of product image and marketing. Also, males are likely to search for products online. Consolidating the segment definition, the suggestion is to use an integrated marketing plan that includes extensive online advertisement.

Identification of an Objective

The first objective is to raise awareness of the men cosmetics products for men of 16 to 35 years old. Most men do not possess knowledge about the variety of skincare products available for them. The second objective is to address the aging men group that is not targeted in promotion plans. Only a few advertisements try to engage men of 45 years and above. For instance, males of 45 years and above feel that a clean shave makes them feel young. Therefore, the promotion of shaving products should target the aforementioned age group. The third objective is to increase brand loyalty among customers. As discussed earlier, men are less likely to change brand as compared to women. Therefore, by creating awareness, the company will also increase brand loyalty. The fourth objective is to create a quality image of the offered products among the target population. The Body Shop produces high-quality products. Based on the reputation, the marketing plan should also take the initiative of informing the selected segment about the benefits of their products over the competitive items. Lastly, the marketing strategy aims to increase the sales volume of male cosmetic products by at least 11 % in the three year period.

Identification of a Core Message

The fact that most men are likely to shop online for toiletries is a great opportunity to have digital communication with them. The marketing communication message may be spread through apps and websites. The core goal is to promote shaving products. For instance, the selected apps will send the shaving and grooming tips through articles and videos, and the Body Shop products will be used in the media. The articles will also encourage the audience to sign-up for the social media accounts to get more tips, promotions, and exclusive offers. The apps and websites will carry the message “Doing it Right”. Many consumers will be attracted to read on how to shave in the right way, and see the benefits of using the Body Shop shaving products. The promotion plan will also include discounts on shaving products for the consumers that sign up.

Conclusion

Marketing is a crucial part of every successful business. The Body Shop sells high-quality products; thus, it can gain a large market share. However, the Body Shop faces competition from other cosmetic firms such as Bath & Body. Men’s cosmetics market is expected to increase in the sales volumes. However, the shaving products have not been doing well due to change of culture in the UK, where most men prefer the hipster beard fashion, thus, they shave less. To increase sales in males’ product line segment, the Body Shop should use apps and websites. They should mainly target the aged men segment because they have a feeling that a clean shave will make them look young.

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