Living your values to do business differently

Co-op | Living your values to do business differently

Through huge amounts of co-operation and hard work, we built an approach which has started to pay back, by driving business results and by inspiring people to get involved in our campaign. From people in communities up and down the UK, to footballer Marcus Rashford to all of its colleagues and members.

A legacy for communities.

Co-op has been there to support local communities in the UK through every major crisis in the last 176 years.
Our difference has always driven our position in the market – when you spend with Co-op, it does good in your local community and beyond. But many of our competitors’ responses to the crisis were focused in this space. But where other grocers acted alone, telling people about the good they were doing, we aimed to co-operate with communities, empowering them to make a difference

Reliance on food banks has increased as a result of COVID-19.

We knew if we could bring people together to be part of the solution, it could be a powerful force for good at a time of crisis, and a clear driver of choice. More people than ever have been focused on helping their local community. But with all of us in lockdown and isolated, much of this has gone unnoticed. If we wanted to inspire more people to get involved and show what communities could achieve by working together, we needed to make these little acts of co-operations visible.

Communities needed co-operation more than ever.

Working as a joint agency team with Lucky Generals, our ambition was to get people to shop with Co-op by ensuring that they were remembered for doing the right thing in a crisis. We created a campaign which encouraged communities across the UK to come together to support food charity FareShare, highlighting the little local acts of co-operation - donating or volunteering time – that would add up to make a big difference to those in need.

Our platform was built on actions, not words.

We pulled our upcoming Easter campaign and allocated the remaining media worth £2.5 million to support the food charity FareShare. 

We created a campaign movement focused on getting the UK to donate to FareShare. Using social to create conversation (thank Marcus!) Tapping into innovative digital formats to improve user journeys to donate. And using geo-targeting near Co-op stores to encourage in-store donations.

We celebrated the little acts of co-operation happening up and down the country by real #local heroes to provide continued motivation for people to get involved. We showcased hyperlocal stories on a national stage, rewarding those who stepped up to help through the pandemic by distributing prizes through a co-operative partnership with both Global and Mail Metro Media, alongside Co-op’s owned channels.

We still had one eye firmly on what would drive growth. We flexed spend up and down in almost real-time to drive excess SOV in the moments that mattered. We invested in channels we knew drove ROI. But we also did our best to support media partners through the crisis. We continued to support the Metro newspaper and Big Issue. We held back from excluding COVID-19 related keywords. Instead, we built a campaign that leant heavily into the crisis, rather than avoided proximity to the topic.

When your values authentically lead you, your business grows. 

We generated over 5 million meal donations, for those most in need during COVID-19 outbreak in the UK. At the same time, our approach has acted as a catalyst for change on a much greater level. What started as a retweet by Marcus Rashford has grown into his incredible initiative challenging the government to provide food vouchers for those most in need over the holidays. The perfect example of the acts of co-operation we were hoping to inspire.

In the period immediately following the activation, Co-op’s market share grew by 1.4% to a record 7.4%. We’re not going to tell you this was all down to media. This is due to incredible acts of co-operation and dedication from across the Co-op business and their partners and suppliers. Not least the key worker colleagues working in stores across the UK to ensure people continued to get access to supplies. But we have played our part.

We saw our highest ever media ROI performance across this campaign, alongside positive growth in brand metrics, with the public ranking Co-op number 1 for commitment to community, supporting food banks and encouraging charitable donations.

Sam Walker

Working as an integrated team our agencies and internal teams were able to mobilise, collaborate and engage multiple teams across the Co-op business to build a campaign in record time. The work exemplified the spirit of co-operation and fairness that the Co-op has always stood for and has played its part in driving the exceptional results we have seen.

Sam Walker Head of Customer Campaigns, Co-op
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