Company: Co-operative Group
Brand value: US$1,671 million
Headquarter city: Manchester
Year formed: 1844
The Co-op is a network of convenience stores and small supermarkets that prides itself on its ownership by individual members rather than large investors. Profits are distributed to members via money, rewards and offers, meaning the Co-op can help contribute to local communities. More than 17.5 million people are part-owners of the Co-op, and many of them qualify to vote on decisions about the strategy of the business. The Co-op also promotes ethical trading; it was the first major UK retailer to champion Fairtrade, and has promoted other practices – such as clear nutritional labelling on its own brand food – that are now industry standard. The Co-op was the first to use degradable plastic bags, the first to ban the sale of “alcopop” alcoholic drinks, and the first to ban its household products being tested on animals. The Co-op is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, with more than 2,500 stores; its prices tend to be somewhat higher than Asda and Tesco, with its ethical mission setting the brand apart. The brand is reportedly in talks to buy the Nisa convenience store chain.
The 2017 “Great things happen when we work together” campaign uses one TV ad and 13 short films focusing on specific communities around the UK and screened locally in cinemas. The ads have a “stripped back” feel unlike other retail advertising, and focus on the Co-op’s ownership scheme, which donates a percentage of customers’ loyalty points to local causes. Other campaigns focus on fundraising for other good causes, such as their fight against loneliness in the UK with the British Red Cross. The Co-op also offers banking and funeral services, however its banking arm has been struggling since 2013, after a black hole in their finances was discovered. Restructuring, which was agreed to in mid-2017, will leave the Co-op group with only a 1 percent stake in the bank. The Co-operative Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange.