In 2019, brand purpose is arguably the hottest trend in marketing. It’s also arguably the most maligned. How can brands be a part of culture and do good, while also taking care of commercial considerations? How can consumers – more motivated to support brands doing good than ever, research indicates – be sure that the brands they purchase are really walking their talk, as opposed to ‘pink-washing’ or ‘green-washing’?

From humble beginnings as a single store in Brighton, The Body Shop now has more than 3000 stores in 70 countries. A strong sense of purpose has always been at the heart of the brand, but following a major ownership change, the time was right for the company to reassess that vision and modernise it for the 21st century.

What role a brand can play in society is a vexed topic but one that’s crucial for brands to be honest about, according to Jessie Macneil-Brown, Global Head of Activism at The Body Shop.

“(The ownership change) was a great time for us as an organisation to stop and go, okay, where are we going? What kind of brand do we want to be? Are we responding to the needs of our communities and our customers?” said Macneil-Brown, in an exclusive interview with WARC at the Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity.