Brand Battle: The Body Shop vs Bath & Body Works

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In a Crowded Market, Which Company Has the Best ‘Body’ of Work?


The Personal Care market is a $146 billion market. Snagging a sizable percentage of it means that a company is doing something right. The Body Shop and Bath & Body Works are two heavyweights duking it out for dominance in a market with other heavy hitters like L’Oréal and Johnson & Johnson, but both push for local, tangible markets in order to create separation in the commerce column.

Personal care companies are typically held to interesting standards. The goal is often to look younger and feel better about yourself. So, the differentiators between the two companies often come down to customer satisfaction and the ability to reach the consumer just prior to a critical decision-making opportunity.

To see how two of these giants—The Body Shop and Bath & Body Works—stacked up in a competitive marketplace, location-based marketing company Brandify used its proprietary software to see which marketing and branding areas stood out as strengths and which areas fell short. Brandify looked at local marketing for both companies. It looks closer than it actually was, but both brands managed to have areas that stood out from each other.  

The Players

The Body Shop and Bath & Body Works certainly hold their own in the global Personal Care market. Each has a distinct brand that garners rabid followers and product consumers for what, ultimately, is a veritable search for the Fountain of Youth—or at least the Fountain of Continued Wellbeing. True to the ongoing trend of leveraging consumer data to facilitated hyper-localized marketing, Bath and Body Works ultimately turned its strong SEO and lack of data quality issues into a clearly established edge over The Body Shop.

The Final Scores

The Body Shop: 528                       Bath & Body Works: 536


Battle rounds: Data Quality | Local SEO | Reviews | Local Ads

The Battle

Maybe you’re born with it, maybe it’s … carefully chosen products that highlight your natural beauty.


Battle round: Data Quality

Do you know where your facial cleanser is? The data does.

Data collection and aggregation is basically its own market at this point, so having problems with data quality is kind of like owning a smartphone without Internet access: If you’re serious about using it, it’s time to pony up a little cash to make sure it works.

Since almost every personal care company demands personal information upon checkout, it seems like data quality would be low on the list of potential problems for these two companies. Further, when it comes to ensuring the quality of the data the company actually has control over—like location claiming—this should be a no-brainer, an easy way to distinguish among the competition. Unfortunately, for The Body Shop, its lack of location data translated into a landslide loss. About 54% of the locations on Google and 42% of the locations on Yelp remain unclaimed by The Body Shop. For consumers looking to the internet for ease of use and quick results, this poses a major problem. This is not to say Bath & Body Works is infallible. In fact, a whopping 67% of its locations on Yelp are unclaimed. But, in the end, The Body Shop’s poor performance on Google means that across the board, 46% of its locations remain unclaimed. You just can’t have that.

Winner: Bath & Body Works

*Locations that were “not found” were not returned in any search results. Locations that were “not claimed” were returned in the search results, but data about the location such as phone number and address could be incorrect or missing.


Battle round: Local SEO

Are you trying to sell products? Might be time to bump that localized data up a notch.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often waved around like a magic elixir that can solve all marketing problems (kind of like how those kale/melon/avocado/coconut oil facial cleansing products will make you look baby-fresh again). While we won’t go quite so far as to agree with that assessment, it certainly is an invaluable tool in the age of almost exclusively online commerce. Thus, if SEO is the missing piece, it is extremely noticeable. Once again, Bath & Body Works gains a noticeable edge due to one huge factors: website keywords.

The Body Shop gained a slight edge in page rank, and as we all know, if we have to click through multiple O’s at the bottom of Google search just to find a page, you’re probably not doing a great job. Of note: both companies scored a perfect zero on locator pages, so there’s that.

Winner: Bath & Body Works


Battle round: Reviews

Are the wrinkles gone? Did your significant other comment on your youthful glow? Customers have high standards, and satisfaction drives sales.

Maybe personal care companies have impossible standards to achieve. Maybe anything less than a transformation means a failed experience. Perhaps more than any other industry, the personal care market is driven by recommendations and reviews. These are products that people are using personally, often on a daily basis, and so their thoughts carry weight with other consumers.

This battle is easily the closest, with Bath & Body Works narrowly edging The Body Shop with a score of 21-18. The real differentiator here is the ‘negative sentiment’ analysis. Bath & Body Works had a 26% negative sentiment, while The Body Shop had a 33% negative sentiment rating. Sometimes the sentiment analysis tells a stronger story than sales alone.

With all the attention paid in this analysis to the companies’ respective digital presence, both companies score very well with regard to the knowledge and conduct of the staff. In fact, those surveyed rated ‘knowledge’ and ‘staff’ as the highest positives for both companies. Whether or not this is a surprise depends on how you view the industry. For a market based on something so personal, it does make sense that the face-to-face interactions between staff and customer carry such high value. It’s an old-school sales perspective, but in this case, it holds strong as an integral piece of the experience.

Consumers will always quibble about prices, and if that is the main differentiator for one company over another, it may stand as a branding opportunity rather than a negative point of analysis. In this case, customer satisfaction was nearly deadlocked for both, with pricing concerns falling in favor of The Body Shop.

*Reviews are Lifetime results, refreshed May 22, 2018.

Winner: Bath & Body Works


Battle round: Local Ads

In the digital era, targeted marketing rules the day. Tracking buyer habits by localized data means stronger sales margins.

In another crushing defeat, Bath & Body Works handily outpaces The Body Shop. For large companies like these, local ads are based more on tracking digital interactions than putting up television ads or ads in local newspapers. This market excels in targeted experiences, so using the marketing technology available means that, in many cases, every ad is local. If it pops up on a social media sidebar, the chances are that it will include a location of a local seller or an online discount for a local shop.

With that in mind, the real differentiator here was the sheer number of general ads that Bath & Body Works runs. For companies like this, general brand awareness is often a critical piece of marketing. With so many reseller opportunities around the country, consumers can usually find a place to buy if they are familiar enough with the brand to seek it out. Additionally, if the company as a whole is running some kind of marketing promotion, it will usually be applicable to anyone no matter where they are. Knowing this, it is clear that Bath & Body Works’ tactic is to build general brand awareness so that the top-of-mind factor translates into sales whenever a consumer is faced with the two different brands in a buying opportunity.

Winner: Bath & Body Works


Brand Battle Winner: Bath & Body Works


Brandify’s Recommendations for The Body Shop

  1.       OWN THE CATEGORY! Body Lotion, Body Products, and Home Fragrance are all key terms for these kinds of companies. Improving the page ranking could ensure better sales.  
  2.      STAKE A CLAIM. For these companies, foot traffic can be a big boost to sales, especially since the e-commerce facet comes down to dollars spent. Claim a few more listings, and you’ll see a turnaround.
  3.       PUT ON SOME COVER-UP! Use the extra oomph that local advertising can provide to cover up those negative lines.

Brandify’s Recommendations for Bath & Body Works

  1. GO LOCAL! Seeing as both companies scored a perfect zero on local pages in the SEO battle, this seems like an immediate place for improvement. If it doesn’t fit the business model, at least it might garner a few more true believers.
  2. IT’S THE DATA! While neither company shined especially bright in the data quality section, this is an area that can be taken into hand by just a little extra effort. Claim a few more of those Yelp listings, and see that data quality jump exponentially.
  3. CHECK THE PRICE TAG! Or, better yet, leverage that into a branding opportunity to present a narrative of brand caché. Prices can always change, but as they say, perception is reality.

The battle was scored using Brandify’s Social Data Matching (SDM) technology with data from various channels,* including Google, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare. Data was entered into the Brandify analytics engine to test the two companies’ local digital marketing footprint to determine a final for each. The Brandscore is calculated with an algorithm consisting of more than 250 variables over five core location-based areas: Data Quality, Local SEO, Reviews, and Local Advertising.

Street Fight and Brandify will publish a new Brand Battle each month.

*Other channel sources included in this analysis: Yellow Pages, MerchantCircle, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.

About Brandify

Brandify is transforming the way businesses connect to consumers by leveraging location technology and offering unrivaled personal service. Brandify has helped hundreds of brands understand and improve their local presence. Current and past clients include True Value, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Applebee’s, Black & Decker, and more. For more information about Brandify, visit