Across one hundred of the largest businesses in the country, the Co-op is loved by four out of five people (84%) in the annual survey by IPSOS.
And the country? It’s Norway.
I have written before about the vibrant and active cooperative sector in Norway, following work with our sister body Samvirke Senteret. I focused then on the farming, forestry and fishery co-ops. The Co-op, a sister to the UK Co-op, is a consumer owned retailer with 1.6 million owners in Norway.
As a mark of confidence, the Co-op has produced a wonderful, funny set of three short videos – about a Silicon Valley sharing economy start up funded by investors to make their next billion that reinvent… the co-op.
The first is set in Silicon Valley, where the team come up with the idea of sharing profits – co-operation- as the next big thing in the sharing economy.
The second is a pool party, where the investor gets cold feet when he realises he will not be the only owner.
The third has the team visiting the richest country in the world, Norway, in search of new investors – only to discover that someone has ‘stolen their idea’ with Co-op stores all across the country.
The CEO of Coop Norway is Geir Inge Stokke. He says:
“Our employees work on a daily basis to ensure that our customers, who are our co-owners, have good shopping experiences. Our own measurements lately have also shown record high customer satisfaction. Nothing gives us a bigger boost than coming top of the most loved list.”
Co-ops rank high in other countries too, such as Italy and the Netherlands where co-operatives are in the top ten brands. In the UK, the Co-op has been named by ICM as the number one campaigning business.
One of the strengths of the consumer co-operative model is the extra connection that being a member owner can bring. You are not simply a customer. Beauty, perhaps, is in the eye of the owner.