The Co-op looks to build recognition for “strong and powerful” brand

The Co-operative Group has launched the biggest piece of consumer insight research it has ever done to develop a stronger brand message across all its business groups.

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The company, which has divisions in retail, holidays, banking and funeral care, is hoping to find out “what consumers love about the Co-op and what they love less” and will then build and strengthen its marketing and brand strategy with the consumer at the heart of everything it does.

Gill Barr, The Co-op’s group marketing director who joined in January says: “This is an enormous company and we participate in a lot of different sectors. The Co-op brand is a strong and powerful thing, but there are still too many people that don’t understand why we’re so different. So we want to make sure we’re getting the Co-op message out in the right way to the right people.”

“It’s a difficult job because The Co-op is a legacy brand and because it has to be articulated across sectors from funerals to holidays,” she adds.

The Co-op is also creating a group brand director role to oversee the group brand on a strategic level, working across all business units and the group brand as a whole, taking in all areas of the marketing mix from operational execution to brand strategy.

Barr says that the role will has “incredible strategic significance” for the Co-op as a brand as an organisation.

It is not thought to be a direct replacement for the head of brand role that was axed as part of a restructure under former marketing director Patrick Allen.

The brand director role will work hand in hand with the recently created director of insight and planning role filled by former MasterCard Advisors chief Neil Carden in August, and report directly to Barr.

Barr adds: “We’re not just looking for someone that can pull together an ad, but is thinking about the role of The Co-op and the brand, there are clear strategic aims.”

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