The Co-operative is more than doubling its £12m marketing spend over the next two years as part of a strategy to bring its businesses under the Co-operative master brand.
The company wants to encourage cross-selling and brand equity across all its companies in retail, travel, funeral and financial services.
Russ Brady, a Co-operative spokesman, says: “This [the increase] will occur on a dual basis, both operationally for our food and non-food retail businesses, to demonstrate the strength of their products and increasingly, through corporate messages, to demonstrate the strength of our membership proposition.”
The merger of The Co-operative Group and United Co-operatives this year created the world’s largest consumer co-operative with a turnover of £1.7bn. It has more than four million card-carrying members.
Patrick Allen, director of marketing, says these members provide enormous potential for cross-promoting the group’s businesses. Since the merger, the company has launched a new logo and is gearing up to promote the benefits of membership.
The company is also focusing on its pharmacy business. The Co-operative Pharmacy is the third largest in the UK, but has little recognition with most consumers, according to Allen. The company plans to expand its pharmacy business through acquisitions and new shops in a bid to take on Boots and Lloyds Pharmacy.