Co-op goes back to the future with fresh brand purpose

The Co-operative has unveiled a new brand purpose, ‘Championing a better way to do business for you and your communities’, a move that comes as the beleaguered group announces its members have accepted proposals that will lead to a radical shake-up of its board. 

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The group says in a statement that the purpose (see box below) signals a return to its original “co-operative roots”. The existing board, members and staff developed it, the Co-operative says in a statement.  

The promise to stay true to the group’s founding purpose comes as members voted unanimously to accept the changes set out by Lord Myners in his recent report into the governance of the organisation.

The move will see a change to the make-up of the board to ensure members are “qualified to lead an organisation of the size and complexity of The Co-operative Group”.

The change could see marketing return to the group’s board. Group marketing director Gill Barr was stood down from the Co-op’s management board in March but maintained her responsibility for marketing strategy.

However, one of Lord Myners’ major criticisms of the group’s structure was a lack of marketing and other discipline specific expertise on the board.  

A board sub-committee will work out how to implement the changes, the group says, although it is not clear when this will be.

The group canvassed the opinion of the public, via its ‘have your say’ initiative, earlier this year, asking people for their opinion on changes that would lead to a further radical overhaul such as whether it should continue to make donations to political parties. 

The Co-operative Group’s new purpose.  

  • Championing – It’s part of our heritage, taking a stand, making a noise on a small number of social issues which are relevant to our businesses and our members lives 
  • Better way of doing business – we need to be commercially successful, building a sustainable way of doing business that is mutually beneficial, recycling our success into strengthening communities. Continuing our ongoing commitment to ethical values and sourcing
  • For You – immediate and tangible benefits for our members and customers who are not yet members. Functional benefits – better prices; great quality; right location; excellent customer service; emotional benefit – feels good and feels right
  • Your Communities – enabling and strengthening communities, being locally relevant and reinforcing reasons why members and customers should be loyal to us

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