No 7 - the relaunch of a brand
A Boots case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Boots 2 Diagram 2When a new product is launched, which is subtly different from existing brands and the new arrival is successful this often leads to hectic activity as competitors introduce rival versions. Marketing involves managing the effects of change and competition. An organisation cannot stand still in this environment of change. It needs to determine how these changes affect consumer wants and needs and then develop objectives and strategies to confront these challenges.

No business can survive for long without responding to a changing market-place. This is why marketing should be looked at as the ‘generalship’ of business; the function which directs and secures an organisations long-term viability. Marketing enables an organisation to:

  • be more responsive to consumer needs
  • improve its competitiveness
  • develop a direction for its activities
  • build upon past achievements.

This case study focuses on the most recent relaunch of the Boots No 7 brand in 1995. The No 7 brand was launched in 1935 as Boots own cosmetic brand, at a time when women everywhere were striving to copy glamorous, famous women like Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Lady Astor. The era created a tremendous demand for an increasing variety of cosmetic products, resulting in a thriving and competitive beauty market. The original range included just 7 products, designed to provide the basic necessities in make-up and skincare. It was presented in classic art deco packaging using a scripted ‘Number Seven’ logo.

Changing nature of the market

Boots 2 Diagram 3Since 1935, No 7 has been re-launched on a number of occasions to reflect the changing nature of the market for cosmetics. For example, cosmetics became more sophisticated towards the later fifties with varying degrees of lustre added to nail, lip, eye and cheek preparations. During the 60s heavy black eye make-up and pale lipsticks were made fashionable by singers such as Dusty Springfield.

By the 70s there was a greater awareness of eating for health and more emphasis was placed upon skincare than on decorative cosmetic application. During the 80s cosmetics expanded to meet every taste so that cosmetics reached an all time high in terms of sophistication. Products now offer state of the art technology combined with the latest scientific developments and natural ingredients collected from around the globe. As the cosmetic market has expanded, products and ranges have been developed to be ‘micro-marketed’ to specific age groups and socio-economic groups. The No 7 brand was last relaunched in 1991 with the introduction of the grey and rose gold tones. In 1995 Boots brand held a 13.0% share of the UK Skincare Market and a 16.0% share of the Colour Cosmetics market.

Boots | No 7 - the relaunch of a brand