Why the Co-op has had a retro rebrand

Yesterday I went into my local Co-operative store in West London and stopped in my tracks.

Facing me was a tote bag with the Co-op‘s new brand. Or to be accurate, their old brand.

back-to-being-coop-300pxIt brought back memories of my Grandma’s house with her never-ending biscuit supply, and the price stickers on my childhood game of playing shop.

Their new logo transported me back in time, and then back to 2016. I love the fact they’ve returned to their roots.

Further reading: How GWR has unbranded.

Going back to being Co-op
The Co-operative is part and parcel of British life, in a similar ilk to British Home Stores (BHS).

This week they announced their new identity saying: “We’re proudly going back to ‘Being Co-op’: rediscovering for ourselves what made the Co-op different and special for people in the first place.

co-op-food“We’re changing our look to draw attention to the significant improvements we’re making to our Co-op membership, the very thing that makes us truly distinctive, must be at the heart of all we say and do.

“Our new look will be familiar to many of us as the ‘clover leaf’. We first used a version of it in 1968 and we’ve chosen this look because it links to a time when people understood how they could be co-owners of their Co-op and how a strong Co-op could help to create strong communities.”


You can see an overview of it via this video:

How are they marking the change internally?
According to their website, 70,000 Co-op colleagues across the UK are taking part in a ‘Back to being Co-op’ programme, helping to educate staff about the benefits of membership and reconnect them with their heritage.

The ambitious plans, which involve 5,000 colleague events will enable the mutual to tell the new “Being Co-op” story to its entire workforce, present in every post code area across Britain.

history of co-opRichard Pennycook, CEO of the Co-op, said: “This is what the Co-op is all about. Big business is often accused of taking money out of communities – we are putting it back in as we champion a better way of doing business for our members and their communities.

“Our intention is to return to paying a dividend again, but we also want to make the rewards for members who trade with the Co-op more meaningful and community focused.

We’re already seeing good momentum across our businesses and this will drive further growth which our members and their communities will benefit from.

“It clearly demonstrates the Co-op difference being delivered every day.”

Writing on the Co-op blog yesterday, Ben Terrett, Group Design Director said: “I’d like to say a big thanks to all our colleagues who have worked through the weekend to make sure everything was ready for 7am this morning.

Rebranding our entire estate will take several years.

We’ll also be taking our colleagues through a training programme, because these projects never work if they’re just cosmetic.

“As we rebuild membership our own brand products will become more important and this new look brings a simplicity that helps them stand out.  The principles of user centred design can be applied to packaging and stores as easily as they can be applied to websites.

“A big part of that is making things simpler, clearer and more coherent.”

New Co-op

15 June update: Here’s a look at how they are communicating internally thanks to Scarlett Abbott:


They have been sharing stories via Twitter too:

co-op-blueAllan Leighton, Chair of the Co-op, said: “We are on the verge of creating a new Co-op economy, one where the trade from our members clearly benefits them, their communities and our thousands of suppliers.

“Our brand identity, whether seen on a Fairtrade bottle of wine, on a funeral home fascia or on our insurance website, will signify a better way of doing business.”


Well done to The Co-op. If you’d like to share how you’re communicating internally, I’d love to hear from you.

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Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 24 May 2016.

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