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Flintlock has a long relationship with Co-op, which began with an interim role filled by one of our directors, Tasha Gladman.

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at the Co-op had been in that role on a full-time contract role for 18 months but was keen to move on. They had been running a search to find a permanent CMO to replace her, but was struggling to find the perfect person.

Tasha suggested to the Co-op that she could share the role with the current CMO, buying the Co-op more time to find a permanent full-time replacement. She was interviewed, in Manchester, and was offered the job.

The Co-op liked the idea of being able to bring in a combined level of expertise – far beyond what one person could bring – and the flexibility and specialist understanding that comes with interim management. They also liked the idea of using this interim period as an opportunity to put in place a framework for good practice, rather than viewing it as a problem to be solved.

Tasha worked for Co-op for four days a week, managing all the day-to-day marketing activities, while the existing contract CMO moved over to work on a number of strategic projects, relating to membership, for two days a week.

What did Tasha Gladman from Flintlock deliver during her time as interim drop-in CMO managing the team and day-to-day projects to drive business performance:

  • Creating and landing the Customer Strategy built from the Brand Purpose.
  • Creating a new communications campaign.
  • Landing the Christmas campaign.
  • Developing a new pricing strategy based on understanding the drivers of store choice, and realising that good value was a key metric to fix.
  • Building the business case to have a physical shop at all the Live Nation’s festivals.

Eventually the Co-op found a permanent CMO. There followed a month’s transition period when Tasha carried on running the day-to-day so the new CMO could get to know the business and the people, before the handover.

However, Flintlock’s work with the Co-op didn’t end there. At this point we stepped in to deliver a number of projects and has stayed involved, supporting them with specialist support ever since.

We started this next phase by running a new project on colleague advocacy that involved a wide range of stakeholder research as well a written report with recommendations for how they could improve things. Flintlock director, Graham Appleyard worked on taking the customer strategy and building the Co-op own label strategy off the back of it.

We are currently working on a project based around the power of eating together and of bringing people together, focusing on the role Co-op plays in this. As part of this we orchestrated a huge sponsorship with Live Nation festival group and secured a Co-op shop at their festivals, demonstrating the Co-op’s understanding of their role in the community, as well as how they plan to serve those needs.

Jo Whitfield, CEO of Co-op Food says: “Flintlock brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to our business, supporting us with the revitalisation of our brand and breathing life back into our Customer team. Through an open and collaborative approach we developed a strong customer proposition which defines our strategic direction for the future. They have been a pleasure to work with, bringing great energy and quickly becoming indispensable, crucial members of the team.”

From Flintlock’s perspective, Co-op is a real success story. The Co-op are growing their market share and thriving, and this is off the back of the framing work we did, as part of and following Tasha’s interim CMO role.

Using our expertise at Flintlock we were able to help the Co-op to better understand their consumer needs and their place in the convenience sector – for example, understanding food on the go, or food for tonight. The Co-op is a great example of how a business can use an interim role to benefit them, bringing a fresh perspective and effecting a number of essential, strategic changes.

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