St. Paul and District Co-op and Eastalta Co-op are two retail co-operatives operating in northeast Alberta. Their retail lines of business are expansive and encompass food stores, home & Agro stores, liquor stores, gas bars, card locks, and a petroleum division. Together, these two Co-ops operate 20 different locations in 7 communities, are made up of hundreds of dedicated employees, and serve a membership base of nearly 25,000. Octopus Creative was pumped to have been approached by a cooperative that has been operating in their communities since the early 1900s!
So how do you pull off an integrated marketing campaign, spanning a trading area of more than 280 kilometres, in a little over a month? With the marketing experts at Octopus Creative – that’s how!
The two Co-ops were proposing an amalgamation to their membership, in which they would join together to form Cornerstone Co-op. The challenge presented was to ensure a high level of member awareness for the proposed amalgamation, and ultimately, to get the vote passed. To have the amalgamation approved, not only did we need to adhere to the bylaws of each respective Co-op, but we also had to encourage attendance and have the vote pass with 2/3 of members voting in favour. Octopus Creative had to develop a campaign that clearly communicated the benefits of the amalgamation
Well, the first thing we had to do was to make the word “amalgamation” sexy. You might be thinking that’s impossible! We did that by implementing the overall campaign slogan, “Better Together,” to communicate all that we needed to, in just two simple words. We then developed every piece of creative, completed the media buy, and executed the entire multi-channel campaign with advertising through social media, websites, search engines, newspapers, direct mail, billboards, in-house posters, brochures, radio, video, and through a custom campaign landing page.
The landing page allowed each Co-op to collect RSVPs for members wishing to attend the member info session and voting meetings. We were incredibly pumped to implement marketing strategies and tactics so that the Co-ops could dive into the digital world. We assisted in the direction of their first ever live Facebook Q & A, provided the complete production of employee testimonial videos, and even animated their new logo.
Cornerstone Co-op will become official at the end of January 2017! The Eastalta vote passed with an approval rate of 93.8% and then that the St. Paul vote passed with a 92.5% approval, and each meeting saw attendance of 3x their normal Annual General Meetings. The campaign also allowed for intelligent marketing insights as we used the landing page as a tool to help the Co-ops measure the effectiveness of their advertising channels. Marketing in the digital age has become so much more intelligent than in the past!
The feedback we’ve received is that Octopus Creative has set the bar for amalgamations of future Co-ops in the Co-op retail system. #HappyDance!