Guest blog: Mutual businesses in a post-pandemic world

Guest blog by Caroline Domanski MBE, CEO, No1 CopperPot Credit Union. First published in Society Matters magazine.

Guest blog by Caroline Domanski MBE, CEO, No1 CopperPot Credit Union. First published in Society Matters magazine.

We keep hearing the phase “the new normal” but what does that actually mean for mutuals, our brands, our colleagues and our members.  

At the BSA conference we heard from two industry experts, Daniel Stanley, Cohere Partners and Teddy Nyahasha, OneFamily, alongside Professor Rob Briner, Queen Mary University of London, to understand what’s changed since we entered the post pandemic world.  

The panel session discussed the challenges  we face as a sector but these challenges haven’t really changed since the pandemic. Mutuals have continued to position their brand as ones that support members with their pre, during and post pandemic financial challenges in the same member-centric way that mutuals always have.

The bigger challenges in our industry remain the same and are focused around positioning our brand against an ever-increasing competitive market. A market in which there is a continuation of corporate competitors positioning themselves in a greener more ethical and purposeful way. Our challenge as a sector is to continue to build our voice, communicating the collective responsibility that mutuals have to do the right thing, not only for our members but the environment as well. This is a challenge that hasn’t changed since the pandemic, but what the pandemic has given us, is time to pause and think about what we want from our lives, our homes and even our finance providers. This is where as mutuals we need to position our brand to meet these social-economic shifts in member attitudes.

What we have experienced throughout and post pandemic is a closer look into the lives of our peers and colleagues as many of our meetings have been, and continue to be conducted remotely. This is widening into the lives of our members as we look towards using technology to replace traditional face-to-face meetings and we see into the homes of our members. There has been a time saving and more focused approach to meetings but in many cases, we have suffered from the loss of interaction. Wellness and isolation has risen to the top of the agenda as we realise many of our colleagues need support beyond the day-to-day function of their role within the business and there is a greater desire to look out for one another on a more personal level.

Research has shown us that fewer things than we thought have changed in the post pandemic world and more than we thought has not actually changed at all. A closer and more relaxed community has seen greater flexibility in our workplaces, but this isn’t a new concept, it’s just a more accepted one. Mutuals across the sector have built on these changes in attitude to produce a more agile, flexible and forward-thinking workforce.

As we walk through what is now the “new normal” we continue to attract new customers to our businesses. New customers who largely join mutuals simply as customers, it is then our role to turn those customers in to members, creating advocates for our brands and creating an understanding that we all have a part to play in doing the right thing and that mutuals are the foundation of that vision.  

Building a brand of support, responsibility and longevity has been the most important thing to come from the pandemic and this has been welcomed by our members.

For more information: visit http://www.no1copperpot.com/

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.