Making an Impact

A mosquito on a person's arm, with the words Making an Impact above the image

Leading by Example

It’s likely that you’ve heard the recent news that The Body Shop has called in the administrators, meaning that the future of this iconic brand is by no means clear. It’s left the ICC team reeling because, for each of us, The Body Shop evokes strong memories and, of course, smells! Were you Team White Musk, Team Fuzzy Peach or Team Passion Fruit?! 

When Anita Roddick founded The Body Shop in 1976, she was a market maverick. Her approach (which kept moral and ethical considerations firmly at the core of all business decisions) went against the grain. She was passionate about her ethical stance, and the success of the business was built on her ability to communicate this to her customers. Thanks to Anita’s voice and her refusal to compromise, The Body Shop became synonymous with ethically sourced, natural products, never tested on animals…. an operational approach that has never wavered.  

As a market disruptor, Roddick was famed for saying, “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room”. This speaks so clearly of her impact. Back in the 1970s, it was rare to think about where products came from or how they had been sourced, yet she brought these important considerations to public attention and started the conversation.   

Anita was an advocate for the principles that she followed: 

“Get informed. Get outraged. Get inspired. Get active” 

We are advised to ‘lead by example’, Roddick led with the above principles throughout her life, and they also transferred seamlessly into the culture of The Body Shop. In fact, early in the Body Shop journey, employees were often described as ‘hippies’, sharing their founder’s passion and a desire to ‘get active’ and fight for the cause they believed in.  

Interestingly, any modern leadership programme promotes the benefits of ‘having a cause or purpose’, helping others to ‘align with the cause’ and ‘be passionate in the mission to achieve it’. 

Whilst we hope that this is not the end for The Body Shop, it is certainly an opportunity to reflect on what Anita achieved and what the brand stands for, still today.  

We can learn many things from The Body Shop story to date and although we have barely scratched the surface here, there are a couple of big lessons to takeaway.  

Be a mosquito

Follow your passion and ‘get active’ 

We all have a footprint in this world – let’s make sure it’s firmly stamped in the ground, heading in the right direction and driven by passion. We should never under-estimate the impact that one person can have. 

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