Does Marketing our Mutuality really work?

The short answer is YES it really does and the numbers prove it. Next week I am running a strategy session for one of our Australian members. Their...

The short answer is YES it really does and the numbers prove it.

Next week I am running a strategy session for one of our Australian members. Their goal is to embed mutual values in all areas of their business. We will be discussing how to market our values to stakeholders in the mutual sector and how to help our member owners derive maximum value from our unique business model. We’ll discuss everything from strategic direction on branding and communications to corporate social responsibility.

This strategic discussion around mutuality has been gathering pace among many ICMIF members in the last few years. Indeed many of the presentations at the ICMIF Conference focused on this. Many have successfully implemented strategies that have delivered concrete results resulting in increased premiums volumes. I know of a quite a few case studies but would love to hear more of your stories. It would be a wonderful expression of our values-based culture to use this blog to share experiences and most pressingly support our Australian member who is exploring this area now.

I ran a similar strategy session for a member in South Africa last year and they have just shared with me the mutual marketing campaign they will launch shortly. It is a really exciting campaign that brings mutuality to life in a unique way for their members. I can’t wait to share it with the rest of our membership when it is finalised.

In 2010 I ran a marketing mutuality workshop for one of our USA members, Nationwide. As a result they launched a national TV advertising campaign last year promoting their mutual status and differentiating themselves from their stock market competitors.

In the UK mutuals have been using their values to differentiate themselves in the market for a number of years. Their collective market share in 2007 was 3.9% in 2010 it was 7.2%, nearly double! Marketing their unique model has certainly played a considerable role in this achievement.

Many businesses strive to find their unique selling point (USP). Ours was given at our inception because of our mutual and cooperative values and unique governance.

Members the world over are finding innovative ways to market their mutual values and in return are gaining greater market share. So facts now support the theory.

We’re proud of the impact of our members’ marketing strategies and want to share your best practice on so as to inspire organisations that want to further leverage their USP.

So please send us case studies about the marketing campaigns that you are most proud of. What has worked well and where have you found the challenges in communicating our message? What lessons could we all learn from?

We intend to establish a marketing communications think tank during the next few months. Is there someone from your organisation who could help shape the profile of our sector and ensure that our UN International Year of Co-operatives has maximum benefit for our members? Please let me know.

And finally, watch out for a management briefing paper from our Shared Intelligence Unit which will focus on values based marketing online. This will be available during the coming months.

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