Kenyatte Nelson, Chief Membership and Customer Officer at Co-op, began his Madfest talks with some fairly depressing statistics, summarised with two statements; everybody hates you, everybody hates everybody. In a time when media inflation is outpacing consumer growth and people don’t perceive the system to be working for them, how marketers can learn, as Nelson put it, “the not so subtle art of speaking to people who don’t give a fuck about you”.
It begins with the proposition says Nelson. Marketing won’t fix a broken proposition, it will only introduce it to more people.
The Coop has several core principals that they believe make their model “the world’s most resilient business model”. Firstly, all Coop’s are member owned, meaning they exist solely for their clients, and they operate on a democratic basis, so each member can never own more than one share. Economic participation is compulsory, and independence and learning are also core beliefs. Overall is their name sake principle of cooperation; each Coop works with and supports other Coops to build an ecosystem around a customer, as well as supporting the community it works within. Coop principally focuses on the creation of really strong customer propositions which drive participation, which in turn drives profitability. This profit is then reinvested in the business to strengthen the proposition and ensure sustainable value creation for everyone involved.
What can marketers learn from the Coop’s business model?
Nelson left the audience with three thoughts. Number one, it needs to be more about us then it is about me – marketers need to consider how much of their investment and time goes into creating a product that is highly perceived by their customers. Number two, we can do more together – cooperation is key to creating these healthy ecosystems that Coop value so highly in their business model. Finally, number three, place value on building relationships and ensuring that these relationships are sustainable. As Nelson said ‘think customer first, think partnerships, think long term’.
NDA is the official media partner of MAD//Fest 2023