The Co-operative Group has decided to revert back to its late 1960s look in its latest strategy to insert a new, less-corporate life into the business. Following its annual meeting in Manchester on Saturday, the mutual announced its plans to abandon its lime-green store fronts and logo and go back to its light blue cloverleaf design.
Its new look will resonate with older loyal customers who will recognise the design that was originally launched in 1968 and revamped a decade ago.
At its meeting , the 172-year-old business said it will be allocating tens of millions of pounds back to its 8.4m members and their communities through a new rewards scheme. The benefits have been introduced to retain its loyal members as well as attracting new, younger ones.
Members will receive a 5% reward each time they buy a Co-op own-brand product or service. This will be credited to members’ accounts which they can then use for future purchases. An additional 1% will be given to the members’ account to aid local causes and charities in their communities. The Co-op has already made note of 1,500 communities that could be invested in.
The rewards scheme will be available from autumn this year and aims to award communities £100m a year by 2018.
The Group aims to have another million members within the next five years and hopes its new scheme will appeal to younger generations.
The mutual will also be refurbishing its grocery stores, funeral homes and insurance business in addition to improving its services and own-brand products.
Chairman Allan Leighton noted that the Co-op is now looking for “a better way of doing business”.
“We’ve got a bit of a bounce-back” said Rod Bulmer, Head of the Co-op’s consumer services business, in response to the group’s overhaul plans.
“Hindsight and reflection would say that, for a period of years, the society lost its way. When we moved to a more corporate logo it was probably the right thing back then, but it has become abundantly clear that we do need to go back to our roots” said Steve Murrells, Chief Executive of the Food business.
“We are putting money back into the hands of members and communities. We don’t believe we are considered a profit centre. Everything will be put back into the community or given directly to members when we have effectively paid down the costs of running the business. The more customers who shop with us, the more good we can do.”
“Back as far as 2012, it was clear to us that the younger generation was very sceptical of big business and very aligned to the model of co-operatives. The signals were there and we knew as a business we had the chance to reach out to younger people” Murrells added.
“So the [new] logo will resonate with members that have stuck by the Co-op and with new, younger members. We have been working towards this day.”