Co-op recruits Olins to lead membership programme

olins smallRufus Olins, the chief architect of Haymarket’s Brand Republic portal, is joining the Co-operative Group to spearhead the organisation’s revamped loyalty scheme as chief membership officer.
Olins started his career as a journalist at Haymarket, then went to The Sunday Times before rejoining Haymarket as editor of Management Today in 1998. By 2005, he was promoted to a director of the publishing company, becoming managing director of the media division a year later.
It was during this time that Brand Republic launched as a direct competitor to Centaur Media’s Mad.co.uk. But while Mad.co.uk shut up shop nearly a decade ago, Brand Republic remains, despite speculation that it would be axed as part of the recent changes which saw both the Media Week and Marketing brands fold into Campaign.
Since leaving Haymarket in 2008, Olins has been chief executive of Warc and a director of Saffron Brand Consultants. For the past four and a half years, he has been head of newspaper marketing group Newsworks.
At Co-op, Olins is to lead the organisation’s “re-engagement programme”, which has already seen the return of Co-op’s iconic blue clover-leaf logo as well as the launch of a raft of membership benefits.
Olins has been briefed to develop Co-op’s strategy to keep hold of the 8 million existing members as well as sign up 1 million more.
As part of the “five in one” loyalty revamp, members will receive a 5% reward for any purchases they make of Co-op own brand products and services, with a further 1% directly benefiting local causes.
Olins said: “It’s been a wonderful journey. I have huge respect and affection for my team at Newsworks and an undiminished belief in the important role played by the UK’s press. Now I have been offered an extraordinary new opportunity, which I have found impossible to resist.”
Vanessa Clifford, deputy chief executive of Newsworks, will take over as interim boss.

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