Co-op | Hello Finch x Forever Beta | Oceanic

Refreshing the Co-op customer proposition

Project Overview

The Co-operative Group’s roots can be traced back to the original Rochdale Pioneers Society – a group who recognised that when people worked together, they were stronger.

On 21 December 1844, they opened their store with a very meagre selection of butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and a few candles. They were soon known for providing high quality, unadulterated goods.

Customer Director: Jemima Bird and Campaign by Leo Burnett, London

The Challenge

Fast forward to 2017 and Co-op Food was caught in a situation where a lot of its potential was held back by internal and external factors.

  • It had more stores than any food convenience retailer, a sector that was growing
  • However convenience retailers weren’t known for quality food, a perception that spread to Co-op despite its superior products
  • Growth in the sector was also attracting the larger grocery players into convenience, leveraging their brand equity to overcome these perceptions (and avoiding the pressure discounters were putting on them)
  • Co-op’s brand still held the affection of large swathes of the population
  • But that didn’t filter down to benefits to their community or benefits in their shopping basket

Co-op needed to have all of this potential awakened by overcoming these barriers.

The Solution

Co-op is perhaps the most successful purpose-led business in the world. By tying this positioning to what the actual benefits to Co-op food are we could re-awaken the affection and preference for the brand.

A refreshed identity created by London based design agency North provided the platform for Forever Beta to develop, alongside strategic partner Oceanic a new proposition for food ‘closer to you’.

It’s how the brand could become number one in convenience, by getting closer to its customers. This meant getting closer to where they were, and getting Co-op products into their hands; it meant being closer to what they needed – providing an offer which they wanted and expected from a retailer like the Co-op; and it meant getting closer to what they cared about – demonstrating the Co-op purpose of being a better way of doing business for them and their communities.

The Results

Over 2017, our campaigns drove Co-op Food to a 3.4% like-for-like sales increase, a massive leap from the original 2% target.

More importantly, that carried Co-op from £132m loss in 2016 to a £72m profit in 2017.

Over 170 years on, there are now over a billion members of Co-ops around the world, all united by a common purpose – to work together and go about their business in an ethical way – a way that is right and good.