kenyatte nelson co-op (linkedin)

marketer of the week

The marketer behind Co-op’s pivotal retail media offering: Kenyatte Nelson

The chief membership and customer officer has just launched the Co-op Media Network and is now looking for a new ad agency

By conor nichols

It's been quite a month for Kenyatte Nelson. The Co-op's chief membership and customer officer has just got away the launch of a bold new play in the retail media space, unveiled Co-op Live - a new gig venue with community and Co-op member benefits, and he's now kicked-off a search for a new ad agency after splitting with incumbent Lucky Generals. This is not a man easing himself into the new year.

The move into retail media is a bold play by Nelson. The retail media sector is booming and is only expected to grow even more in the next few years. In Europe, the space is expected to reach €24.8 billion (£21.2 billion) by 2026, according to IAB Europe. Despite growing popularity, however, UK-based retailers’ media offerings have been criticised for their lack of distinctiveness, creativity and measurement with regards to successfully contributing to long-term brand growth for brands.

Most of the focus has also been placed on supermarkets within retail media, with an inherent lack of activity from convenience supermarket brands in the space. That is until Co-op launched the UK's first retail media network in the convenience sector last week. The Co-op Media Network promises to provide a distinct advantage for brand growth, with an expansive nationwide network of high footfall stores (2,400), complemented by a media toolkit, rich data insights, and impactful, omni-channel experiences across customer journeys. Not only this, but the retailer boasts a reach of 11 million shoppers, over 80 touch points powered by rich first-party data and is the second most visited grocer in the UK.

Nelson has pushed for Co-op to make use of its nationwide network of frequently shopped smaller stores to drive increased opportunities for brands to display their advertising campaigns. The marketer believes that the launch of the Co-op Media Network is completely different to all the “samey” retail media offerings out there.  

“We’ve gotten really clear about what makes us different,” Nelson wrote on LinkedIn. “Convenience shopping is distinctly different [to] supermarket shopping (more frequent, more opportunities to see, higher propensity to try new items etc), and it offers untapped opportunities for brands to boost their sales, given the impulsive nature of convenience shopping missions.” 

Nelson feels that by including convenience retail media in the broader media ecosystem, brands will have a greater opportunity to enhance sales and help build long team brand health. For him, the launch of the retailer’s media network is about cementing Co-op’s position and transforming the way brands engage with customers across the UK.

“We are doubling down on our strengths in convenience, creating a unique platform for brands that we believe will enable audience connection, business growth and will ultimately reshape the retail media landscape,” he added. “I'm excited about the possibilities this journey will bring. It signifies not only progress for the Co-op Media Network, but also a new chapter for brands seeking diverse ways to connect with their audiences.”

A former MBA student at Florida's Agricultural Mechanical University, Nelson - who is also a non-executive director for the British Retail Consortium - has extensive experience in creating brand strategy and innovation for some of the biggest retailers in the world. Known for his commitment to collaboration and his high levels of charisma and charm, Nelson has led marketing teams for the likes of Missguided, Shop Direct and also worked across several Procter & Gamble brands for 13 years in the US. Nelson was also a DJ for over 10 years, and maybe this helped him tune into Co-op’s nationwide growth.

He's said to have a great aptitude for finding simplicity in complexity, and for his incisive strategic and creative skills. At a time when the Co-op's community focus and zest for purpose is more relevant than ever, the stage is set for Nelson's ambitions to have a real impact.


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