UNITING AECOC’S MEMBERS TO REinvent RETAIL

Connecting stakeholders across an association of 32,000 members is no easy task but we presented, co-ordinated and ran a full-scale, three-day event pitched to senior officials across the association to ensure real impact and collaboration at a truly decision-making level. Cosaris targeted the entire experience to delegates who could facilitate real change for AECOC and its membership base but also bring about new innovations and best-practices which would be adopted by the industry on a global scale.

AECOC & Carrefour

Barcelona,

Spain

32,000+ organisations

Retail & Consumer Goods

AECOC is one of the largest member organisations in Spain with more than 32,000 members and the only one in which the industry, distribution and intermediate operators work closely together to provide greater value to the consumer. One of their key members is the Carrefour Group comprising almost 12,000 stores and operating in more than 30 countries, reaching 104 million households a year worldwide and daily achieves 1.3 million single online website visits.

Top Challenges

  • Discover new innovations in retail
  • Understand current retail trends
  • Connect with major UK retail stores at senior level
  • Unlock a vision of how retail might look in years to come

Why Cosaris?

  • Expertise in unique learning experiences
  • Proven track record in actionable industry research
  • Access to our diverse network of partners
  • Ability to identify innovative retail concepts
  • Event management and tour co-ordination expertise at a senior official scale

 

Key project successes

  • Allowed AECOC members to explore innovative concepts
  • Unified members in shared approach to sustainability
  • Established core network of focused individuals raising AECOC profile and resources in this major industry trend
  • Delivered actionable results used immediately following the event, set AECOC networking events apart

THEIR CHALLENGE

To organise market visits, moving away from traditional seminars and instead truly connecting senior officials from across their member organisations in a collaborative, productive way to focus on the innovation across topics of Organic and Sustainability.

With so many members, from small, family-run consumer goods manufacturers to massive global retailers operating in Spain, the task was to somehow bring the topics to life and provide a true team-building exercise.

A BESPOKE SOLUTION

At Cosaris we understand the nuance, uniqueness, and scope of working with member organisations, so we always treat each association as its own individual organism.

 

Partnering with AECOC, we knew they needed an experience and presentation which was bold and breath-taking to really connect with senior officials and ensure their trip to another country delivered value to each specific stakeholder who attended as well as their respective organisations. We created a three-day event in Sweden combining a research trip, learning experience and networking opportunity. This approach engaged all stakeholders from AECOC, Carrefour, Mercadona, SONAE and many other senior executives from major Spanish and Portuguese retailers, with our Swedish network to learn from each other by sharing experiences and discussing common challenges.

Working with Spain’s AECOC trade association, we opened their members’ minds to new ideas and unique solutions on Organic produce and Sustainability. Through these insights we also forged productive partnerships across our network facilitating new communities within their association to help achieve AECOC’s mission of knowledge sharing, increasing efficiency and delivering greater value to members.

We conducted deep research into the latest trends around organic produce, sustainability in retail, and shopper experience. We identified innovative stores and retail concepts, focusing on how best to engage the senior delegates present and provide them with the best resources to learn from people outside their own organisations and develop best practices together. Finally, we co-ordinated the entire trip to build a new community, leveraging our network to connect AECOC’s members with senior professionals from Swedish retailers to lead us through their stores, answer questions from delegates, and explore innovation collaboratively. We delivered actionable resources, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the opportunity to foster a powerful network of collaborators who would take their findings back to their respective organisations and raise awareness of the value AECOC delivers to every stakeholder.

A 360º CONNECTION

Learning

The path to innovation is to learn to look at things from a different perspective.

For AECOC we knew the organisation wanted to confront its members with outside-the-box thinking and share solutions, standards, and knowledge to make its organisation more efficient and sustainable. Cosaris undertook thorough research and reached out to our partners to choose the most impactful destination to achieve AECOC’s vision and decided on Stockholm. We embarked on a preliminary recce, to consolidate our network, gather data, take photos, and design a full presentation for AECOC to use and market the experience to its membership base. The presentation was a huge success provided educational insights and showcasing the value impact of joining the event, in doing so attracting some of the largest organisations across AECOC, including Carrefour.

Commenting on Cosaris’ detailed learning opportunities and the specificity of the stores and partners we chose, Alain Betancourt, Director Sales Development Fresh Products for Carrefour Spain, said: “It gave me the opportunity to find out about different stores in a different way. We were able to connect with the people working in the stores and ask all the questions we wanted to. Cosaris chose the stores really well so it showed how different they all were.
“It helped me to see the points where Carrefour is really strong and the points where we are weak. It was extremely useful and I would repeat it tomorrow if I could!”

Collaboration

When membership organisations function at their best, there is no limit to what their collective abilities can achieve.

AECOC has more than 32,000 members and Cosaris worked with the member organisation to create an event which allowed them to exchange ideas with industry peers in Sweden but also among their own member network too. Engaging delegates from major retail chains, small independent stores, consumer good manufacturers and more, we ensured AECOC experienced multi-stakeholder collaboration which would deliver results across its wide network. Cosaris’ approach ensured the learning and community impact was pitched at a senior level ensuring that the insights could be implemented within each delegate’s organisation going forward and then filter throughout AECOC members.

We worked with AECOC to ensure the content created was at the right level and we were connecting with what was important to senior decision makers to drive real change across the membership organisation. Through our choices of different stores, unique retail categories and the seniority of our Swedish partners we connected AECOC with innovations they could implement and add value to their own brand.

In addition, through our choices of accommodation, travel, transport, cuisine and experiences, we ensured this 360º study tour was suited to C-level leaders and designed to get them working together. Whether it was a full facility tour from a Director or store owner who could answer the C-level questions from our delegates, or a prestigious networking event where new partnerships ensured tangible results for the entire retail industry, this was true collaboration on a global scale.

Engagement

If stakeholders are invested in an idea emotionally, they want more than just financial return, they want to contribute.

One of our key strengths at Cosaris is knowing how to find the emotional narrative within an organisation’s vision and in doing so make whatever insights or experience we deliver, connect with stakeholders on a soulful level so they bring their emotional commitment to that same vision.

For AECOC it was a case of providing the most relevant insights for the topics they had chosen and then using those to connect with individual stakeholders in each organisation within their membership base and uncover what was important to each of them. In our presentation we used materials, data and insights we had gathered on our initial trip to Stockholm to market the unmissable nature of this experience to AECOC’s members. But more than that, we had to showcase to these member organisations how much value this could bring if they truly engaged with the insights and community.

Alain Betancourt, Director Sales Development Fresh Products for Carrefour Spain, said: “We discovered innovative concepts we could take away and use in Carrefour. It wasn’t only specific things like displays and layouts, it was also great to get a feel for the stores, how people understand their own stores and their relationships between the workers, concepts, the shopper and the company.
“It allowed us to look at the bigger picture. I think we are living in a very disruptive time and it is really important for retailers to understand what the effects of that are. A lot of retailers are trying to do different things. But for me, the most important thing is to be 100% transparent.”

Experiences

More than just a study tour, this was a fully immersive safari designed to push senior figures within the retail industry outside their comfort zone and transform how they approach common challenges.

Working to a brief from AECOC, one of the biggest trade associations in Spain, we researched, organised and delivered every facet of the three-day experience. From transport, accommodation, and cuisine through to the bespoke store visits, innovative product showcases and powerful networking events, the safari was hailed as an “amazing experience” and provided new business opportunities for both AECOC members and the Swedish retailers we connected them with.

One of the delegates, Alain Betancourt, Director of Fresh Products for Carrefour Spain, highlighted the impact of the experience Cosaris delivered: “It wasn’t just a good experience, it was an amazing experience. In every store we visited, there was something to take away from it. It was one of the best visits I have ever done.”