Monday, March 14, 2011

Co-op Branding Survey!

To take the Co-op's branding survey just click here!

Then pass the link on to your friends, family and colleagues who shop at the Co-op. Here's the link:

Not sure what all this "Branding" stuff is about? Read the article from our most recent newsletter, below!

What color is the Co-op?

By Jayne Kaszynski (staff member)

Five of us leaned over the table in the tiny back office, looking at a jumble of class flyers, annual statements, volunteer requests and local Co-op advertisements. We threw out words: “chaos” and “random” came immediately to mind, but so did “home-grown”, “organic”, “bright” and “community”.

As members of the Education and Outreach Committee (generally referred to simply as “Outreach”), we were taking one of the first steps in developing a recognizable “brand” for the Olympia Food Co-op: a brand audit. We gathered as much external Co-op communication materials as we could find and then sat down to interpret what it all said about us. Who is the Co-op? What are we like? What do we stand for? Each of us could answer these questions – we’re all familiar with the mission statement – but did it come across in our communications? The answer was, well, sometimes. But the rest of the time… well, let’s just say that it wasn’t pretty.

Say the word ‘branding’ and many of us feel an apprehensive shiver. Green washing campaigns by big oil companies come to mind, or soda manufacturers pushing high fructose corn syrup as energy drinks. We think of products designed to break, and the constant push to own the new “must-have” item; in other words, the entire consumption process that harms our community’s and the planet’s health.

Shake that shiver out, my friend! The Co-op is not planning to go that way. What we’re embarking on is a community process to determine what the Olympia Food Co-op is all about, and how to translate that into colors, fonts, and pictures. The end result will be a better website, clear and readable signs in the stores, and hopefully flyers and newsletters that make you think, “Ahh! That’s my Co-op!”

Our goal is to create a “brand identity” that’s authentic, that reflects what we are really trying to do. It could be funky, colorful, earthy, bright, clean – whatever we decide it should be. It could look like other Co-ops or be completely new. It’s up to us.

The Outreach Committee (which includes several staff members, a representative from the Board of Directors, and a member at large) has begun laying some of the branding process groundwork, and we want to invite your help. In mid-February, we’ll have an online survey available for you to take, and in March we’ll gather small discussion groups to talk about the results in more detail. Later on in the year, you can expect community meetings to discuss different color and font options and eventually, a get-together to celebrate the new “look” and all of the work we’ve done.

To keep up on the process, keep an eye on the Co-op Blog ( or “like” us on Facebook. If you have questions, comments, or would like to volunteer special expertise, contact Jayne at