telling our story

Focus on Outreach During PR Crisis

Nothing stings more than public criticism, and the longer it’s sustained, the more damaging it can be to an organization’s reputation. Especially when, despite everyone’s best intentions, something goes wrong, or people are upset about something. In today’s wired world, the opportunities for people to share their impressions online have grown exponentially, sometimes amplifying negative word of mouth. It can easily become a chronic [...]

Restoring Trust and Vibrancy in a Co-op Community

Central Co-op Seattle, WA Year founded: 1978 Number of members: 14,200 Consumer member investment: $100 Worker member investment: $6,340 (12 years) Number of employees: 120 Locations: Seattle and Tacoma (opening date late spring TBD) When the Central Co-op in Seattle, Wash. proposed a vote to merge with the Tacoma Food Co-op in 2015, the memberships of both co-ops overwhelmingly approved it. Both communities saw [...]

Perpetuating Board Leadership Through Co-op Storytelling

Board perpetuation is a perennial topic for boards. Turnover happens year to year as a cyclical part of board service. So, finding ways to maintain consistently strong governance needs to be a priority and continual task. Things can never stay exactly they as they are (or used to be), so how do boards keep positive momentum going? How do they individually and collectively share [...]

Gain Sales and Impact from Great Storytelling

Local food is a powerful branding force in grocery retailing. The huge shift in mainstream consumer demand regarding fresh, healthful eating and a desire to know where food comes from has changed how food is marketed and merchandised. Concurrent with the rise of “local” food, online retailing has changed how people buy food. It’s not enough to say its geographic origin. It’s not enough [...]

Telling the Story of Local and Fresh

Moscow Food Co-op Moscow, Idaho Year founded: 1973 Member investment: $150 Number of members: 7,800 Number of employees: 120 Locations: retail store + coffee shop For a long time, the Moscow Food Co-op had dreamed of “telling beautiful stories” about the co-op. They made the investment in 2015 to launch a co-op magazine called Rooted. Since then, their dreams have come true, and then [...]

Introducing Your Co-op to New Communities

Business introductions are a networking staple—and they run the gamut from the ho-hum ‘We are here to sell you something’ to the dynamic, ‘We love to support communities and make a difference in people’s lives.’ As co-ops continue to seek out ways to innovate, offer more goods and services, and reach out to new communities, it is worth the investment of time and resources [...]

Using Ends to Tell the Story

The author Stephen Covey made “begin with the end in mind” a famous touchstone with his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Beginning with the end in mind is “Habit #2.” Of all the habits he writes about, this one involves the most reflection, pushing the reader to consider whether what they are doing is by design or default. Habit #2 encourages [...]

Telling Stories with Intention

In our digitally-connected universe, there has been an explosion of stories—and many of them come to us like processed food. Quick, canned, too many empty calories. So much of what people encounter in the form of news or stories about organizations or individuals feels inconsequential or insincere. All of us have experienced what that feels like, wading through an information overload to try to [...]

Using Storytelling Techniques for Owner Linkage

Flatbush Food Co-op Brooklyn, New York Year founded: 1976 Number of members: 3,500 Member investment: $200 Number of employees: 70 Retail square footage: 8,000 The Flatbush Food Co-op has been in business as a trusted institution in Brooklyn since the 1970s, yet given the increasing competition, and with expansion a possibility, the co-op’s leadership believed there was more they could do to enhance how [...]

Telling the Board Story Through the Co-op Marketing Department

By Rebecca Torpie 190 May-June 2017 Co-op boards and marketing teams can be like two ships passing in the night. Chances are they’ve crossed paths during election season and annual meeting planning, but contact beyond that can be very limited. At many co-ops, neither the board nor the marketing team truly understands the other’s role or perspective, and this can lead to misunderstandings, haphazard planning [...]