Sion Whellens, Calverts
Co-operators remark on the low level of wider awareness and understanding of co-operatives, given that we are one of the largest membership movements. Yet, when we talk about specific measures to change the situation, the discussion can easily get mired in exceptionalism or buried by bureaucracy. The challenge is to make Co-operative Identity a touchstone for co-operatives large and small; to stop moaning and get organised.
The new global Co-operative Identity, comprised of dot coop and the new co-operative Marque launched by the International Co-operative Alliance last year, give us the first opportunity and a some basic tools to start looking like a coherent – albeit diverse – social business movement.
1,100 dot coop domains are registered in the UK, and we have 14% of the world’s registrations for the Marque, but it isn’t yet widely known or, perhaps more importantly, well used. Changing this will take years, so we need to start now. It means co-operatives thinking strategically about how they deploy dot coop and the Marque as part of their marketing communications, and find ways of using them that reinforce their other brand messages and work in harmony across different communication channels, rather than being an option, an afterthought or an add-on.
The first step would be talking to your colleagues and especially people in charge of brand, membership and marketing communications, and ask them to:
a) apply for the Marque and dot coop if they haven’t already done so, then www.identity.coop
b) commit to integrating the Marque and dot coop into all their communications, in a smart and strategic way
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