Branding on the inside

Clare Dowdy delves into The Body Shop Book of Wellbeing to discover how the retailer is planning to take its branding and philosophy to the ultimate level.

Living the brand is second nature to the Nineties consumer. Now that wearing the T-shirt and squirting on the scent are standard practice, a real loyalist will also snack at the in-store coffee bar and bung it all on the corporate credit card.

The Body Shop Book of Wellbeing encourages the consumer to go one step further and incorporate the brand’s philosophy into everyday life. The organisation’s stand on most issues is well publicised, and it is no surprise to find organic vegetarianism strongly endorsed.

While the Body Shop’s ethos is described religiously throughout the 256-page book, as a publication it will happily stand alone. It does not, as is the nature of most retailers’ magazines, brag about its own products, but appeals for a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

The book is broken down into three sections. Mind looks at issues such as stress and self-awareness; Body covers skin and haircare, food and exercise; Soul focuses on freeing the spirit.

The body section is in many ways the most interesting of the trilogy. The suggestions for skin and haircare are practical and easy to carry out.

Much of the information is common sense, but it is set out in clear, unpatronising terms. One revelation for the Design Week office was that meat can take up to a week to work through an old person’s digestive system. Not a pleasant thought.

Designed by The Senate, the book is well laid out and aesthetically appealing. There is good use of charts and tables and sections are broken down using colour and sub-headings. There is lots of movement in the photography, by Jonathan Root and Eric Richmond.

While not everyone will immediately want to take up Shamanism – as suggested in the Soul section – the Book of Wellbeing is a well-designed product. And after buying it, you may well be convinced to buy into the lifestyle as well as the brand.

The Body Shop Book of Wellbeing is out on 26 September, priced 14.99.

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