All together now.
Co-operatives are democratically owned by their members. For Southern Co-op, members are key to everything they do, so maintaining and increasing membership numbers is a critical part of their business model.
Southern Co-op is one the bigger UK societies with 125,000 members. But it had concluded that whilst its membership structure was strong, its recruitment was tired. They turned to us to inject a new energy into the way they engaged the benefits of membership with customers and communities across their South Coast heartland.
Key recruitment objectives were to appeal to a wider demographic and to attract younger age groups to sign up. What couldn’t be derailed was the underlying, long-held co-operative ethos of putting purpose before profit. We developed the campaign in three stages – creating the idea, developing tone of voice and messaging, and crafting the creative direction.
We landed on a simple thought – ‘All Together’ – which for Southern Co-op endorses many things. It endorses the co-operative society ethos with appropriate meaning about inclusivity and community focus. It is also a platform to tell customers that membership delivers benefits and makes a difference to both the individual and communities.
The campaign assets had to deliver into the physical and digital retail environment and the external digital space. Collateral also had to sit inside the Southern Co-op branding programme and retro-fit some existing membership assets.
We also created a campaign toolkit. This interactive document, along with a library of locked and loaded campaign assets, acts as a creative and production guide for the internal marketing team. It allows them to be self-sufficient on a day-to-day basis in building campaign assets to a consistent creative standard. It’s a cost-effective way to work, but they still turn to us if they have a particularly tough creative nut to crack.
The campaign had its first in-store exposure in early 2021 in the newly opened Picket Twenty store in Andover. It was a road test for both offline and digital campaign messages within the retail environment. Feedback from the in-store team was encouraging as they handled 70 new sign-ups within the first week of opening and the wider store test rollout went on to recruit 5,400 new members against a target of 3,000!
And there’s a nice little footnote to this project. Our work received an endorsement from Southern Co-op CEO Mark Smith who commented that ‘the creative was top draw and could easily have been for a blue-chip company’.
A great review, but being a food retailer, we regard Southern more fondly as a crinkle-cut and chocolate chip company rather than blue. And what a great client they are. Collaborating with them on every level to deliver a campaign of this nature makes things, all together, very worthwhile.
And if you’re interested to see our other recent campaign work for Southern Co-op, click here.