The Co-op Gets it Right

Watching Peter Marks, the CEO of the Co-op, deliver his reassuring explanation that former customers of Lloyds TSB, will be happier with his bank, prompted me to write about a localised example of how the Co-op is proving that it can get it right.

I warmed to Peter Marks, not because of what he said, which was believable enough but because of his slightly nervous demeanour which made me feel that we might actually have a human being in charge of this newcomer to the ‘big league’ of UK banking.

Actually, Coldstream, in Berwickshire is the real focus of what has greatly impressed me over the past couple of years, about the Co-op’s application of its brand values.

There is a lady that works at the till in the Coldstream branch, who gives the impression that she has been trained, to the highest standard, in customer service. She makes customers feel good about the Co-op and themselves, she inspires trust in the company and entertains visitors to the shop with her jovial yet respectful attitude to her work and her customers.

People like me can create a brand for companies and document in great detail how the brand must be applied externally and internally to be effective. What this lady does, day in and day out, is to apply a brand strategy that I’m sure that the Co-op believes in, simply because she has the right attitude to her work, cares about her employer’s customers and understands how important her role is, in the success of this historic brand.

I don’t need to name the lady in question. The customers and staff know who she is. Perhaps Peter Marks should have a chat with her about making his philosophy and hers, meet in the middle of the Co-op’s customer-owned empire.