Marketing the Co-operative Advantage

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Sunday August 8, 2010 1:25pm USFWC UofC Berkeley, Workshop hosted by John McNamara (Union Cab Cooperative)

Worker co-operatives have a tremendous opportunity to connect with customers who want to purchase from responsible businesses. A great challenge is that worker co-operatives are often dismissed as communist.

Here were a few ideas on how to use marketing to increase sales:

  • Give discounts to members of other co-ops

  • Union Cabs has a Rider Rewards program where there are financial incentives to regular riders. Equal Exchange's Interfaith Program gives discounts to faith groups who help sell fair trade items to their congregations and communities
  • Place your worker co-op's core values and mission statement so customers can see it
  • On their way out thank customers for supporting a democratic/worker owned workplace
  • Hand out business cards to customers with worker's contact info and values/mission statement on it
  • Equal Exchange wrote articles about coffee farmers. They found though that the most read articles are the recipes. Wrap farmer info around recipes
  • Survey what customers want
  • Market to faith based fair trade movement, who are already familiar with international social justice
  • Agree on a common tag on you tube and twitter