Now is the perfect time to tell the story of the value of the cooperative, according to Anna Randall, customer service and capital loans facilitator for the CHS Country Operations business unit based in Marshall, Minn. “Farming is going to be tough for the next couple of years. It’s important for our members to know that we’re all in this together,” says Randall, who has been using advertising materials from the Value of the Co-op Tool Kit to tell the cooperative story in southwestern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota.
For example, Randall and her co-workers have used email headers from the kit – like the one that says, “Your local co-op and you. Together, we keep growing” – when inviting farmers to attend customer appreciation day, plot days and other events.
Randall also downloaded an article from the kit to include in the co-op’s quarterly newsletter. “There’s a paragraph that talks about the next generations of farmers who face the challenge of staying current, and how we can help them stay at the forefront of emerging technologies. That message is very timely because many farms in our area are moving, or will soon be moving, to the next generation,” says Randall, who points to the “huge” popularity of farm-transition planning services that CHS Marshall has been offering to its members.
Randall anticipates using the kit’s print advertisements, as well. “Sometimes we have an opportunity to include an ad in an event program or to post something on a bulletin board as part of a community sponsorship (without having to pay an additional placement fee). It’s good to have general co-op ads available to promote our business in the community,” she says.
“We appreciate having professional-looking communication materials that keep the focus on our local expertise and service,” says Randall. “These tools have bold, simple messages and wonderful photos. The feeling is very local, not corporate. That’s critical because we want our patrons to always feel like they are more than customers, they’re members.”
The Value of the Co-op Tool Kit is available free of charge to all cooperatives. To download resources, visit chsinc.com/our-company/value-of-the-coop