In 2007, RP was engaged to help a hardware retailer which then had 4,400 stores and $13 billion in annual sales volume communicate the largest event in the company’s history: converting from a cooperative to a traditional, member-owned corporation. The company wanted to simplify this complex financial announcement to ensure its 3,100 retailers and employees understood the benefits/rationale and would vote in favor of the conversion. Just prior to announcing the conversion, RP counseled and prepared the company to communicate a highly sensitive accounting issue to its retailers that unexpectedly arose.
Our team developed a compelling rationale (and related communications push and materials) for moving from retailer-owned cooperative structure to that of a private company. Like a political campaign, we encouraged open debate around the issues, strongly advocated regular polling/surveying and helped plan for a sustained, ongoing educational campaign. Our efforts helped to ensure that the company effectively introduced the conversion concept to retailers, employees, media and other key stakeholders. We additionally helped communicate the accounting issue with minimal negative media coverage and minimal fallout from/defection of retailers.