This section gives and overview of how your marketing can come together with Principle 6 of the ICE Values and Principles - co-operation among co-operatives.
All co-operatives should aspire to the International Co-operative Alliance Values and Principles. Principle 6 is about co-operation among co-operatives, and encourages co-ops to work together and help each other. This has the potential to provide a huge advantage to co-ops in terms of marketing.
Our colleagues at Principle Six have developed an approach to co-operative networking. They are also leading The Hive's skills training course on Marketing.
Step 1: The 60 second pitch
This step is about how you introduce your co-op to other co-ops and social businesses. You need to be able to convey exactly what your organisation does very quickly and in a way that is easy for someone else to remember and to repeat:
- Your name, your business
- Where you are (geographically)
- What you provide (services, goods, etc)
- Why people should buy from you
- Who you want help connecting to
Step 2: Making a referral
This is a two-way process, and you need to be willing to help other co-ops connect, using the information you have from their 60-second pitch.
- Who can you help?
- Who can you introduce them to?
- How strong a referral are you able to give? Eg 1) just a name, a phone number and the promise to make a connection; 2) a personal introduction and testimonial to the third party; 3) you are in a position to conclude the business!
- Make the introduction as soon as you can.
Step 3: Referral networking code of ethics
The above isn’t complicated – it’s just about helping other co-ops in a professional and efficient way. However, when you undertake to do it, you should bear the following in mind:
- Take responsibility for following up on referrals you receive
- Be truthful with the members and with people to whom you are referred
- Be honest in promoting your business and its products or services at a level of quality and cost you are able to deliver
- Build trust among the members
- Display a positive and supportive attitude with network members
- Live up to the highest ethical standards of your trade or profession.
Co-operatives UK offers a number of one-day training courses for co-operatives – find out more.