'We've always been driven by a desire to show that business can be a force of good' - The Body Shop's Kate Levine talks BIG BRAND REDEMPTION ahead of our London Trend Event

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Image credit, in order of appearance: The Body Shop, Guitar Planet

With our London Trend Event (taking place at Kings Place on November 16th) just around the corner, we managed to catch up with Kate Levine - Director of Commitment & Corporate Communications at The Body Shop, and guest on our 'Can Big Brands Be Redeemed?' panel. Here, Kate talks us through a day in her life, as well as looking ahead to next month's event (via an honourable mention to London, Cool Britannia and why the city still has so much to give). 

A typical day at The Body Shop for me usually involves a ton of meetings…but all about topics I’m fascinated by – in fact, we’re all pretty passionate about what we do, so it’s never dull. 

Many of these meetings try to identify issues and risks with the decisions we are making as a business – both from a communications and an operational point of view. The Body Shop is and always has been driven by its desire to show that business can be a force for good, so it’s vital to make sure we’ve thought through the ethics and sustainability angles of everything we do. 

Of course, it’s not all risk management. Over the last two days, I worked with our designers and copywriters on stories and images for our Community Trade programme. This is at the heart of our business and was set up by our founder Anita Roddick in the 80s as a response to what she saw as a very unfair world trade system. Not only is it still going strong, but we’ve just pledged to double the size of it by 2020.

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I also spent time with NGOs discussing campaigning; I spoke to journalists, giving them some new stories; I met with my PR agency to plan for 2017 and then worked on our next press trip to India. One of the highlights of my week was a trip to the brilliant Moniker Art Fair to check out some artists we’re thinking of working with next year.    

I love working and living in London. For me, it’s always been cool, been different… I remember when I first moved here from Sydney in the 1990s, it was the time of Cool Britannia (even though that sounds super cringey now – it’s so uncool to state you’re cool!) with a great boom in art, fashion, music – but I had always thought of London as cool.  Before my time, there was the Swinging London of the 60s, punk of the 70s, then clubbing and music and magazines like The Face in the 80s.  A lot of that, for me, was about culture and the arts but also about freedom of spirit, confidence and an attitude that you can and should try new things. 

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At work, what’s great is that these creative elements influence business to come up with exciting concepts – whether they’re models of working or products or marketing concepts that your customers and colleagues will really connect with. I also love the British self-deprecation and irreverence. I do think that gives the UK an edge and for The Body Shop, that particular humour has always been an important part of our brand expression.

If there’s one trend that everyone should be paying attention to now, it has to be the health of our planet.  Every shred of evidence points to it being in a pretty dire place now so it’s absolutely imperative that protecting our planet underpins all thinking. 

What is great is that this ‘trend’ doesn’t have to be boring or worthy… it can be anything from Zipcars to Stella McCartney’s latest collection. The health of our planet is not an issue that’s going away, so in that sense the issue isn’t a trend; what’s interesting is how engage and motivate people in exciting and stimulating ways.

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TrendWatching's 2016 Consumer Trend Events head to Singapore (27 Oct), Sydney (3 Nov),Chicago (10 Nov), London (16 Nov) and Amsterdam (23 Nov). Ready to unlock and experience the trends set to shape 2017 (and beyond)? Find out more here.

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