Ever Wondered about the Co-op's Mel Matson?

Mel is the Director, Customer Proposition & Comms for the Co-op

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What does your morning routine look like? 

Usually during the week, I’m up and at ‘em between 5am and 6am, depending on the length of run I’m planning on doing; I find running is what gets my week off to a blinding start on a Monday and gives me perspective like nothing else can during the week. I only seem to be able to motivate myself before work starts so it’s the best time to do it and I love giving myself time in the morning to feel like it’s not just get-up, run, get-ready, work! I try and have meetings start from 9am, but it feels like 8.30 is probably the average morning start time.

What food outlet are you most looking forward to visiting when you’re back in the office?

Probably quite simply, Pret. I miss Pret Rocket & Crayfish sandwiches!

What does an average working day have in store for you?

I have so much variety in my job, looking across proposition & comms for the Coop Masterbrand and our Food, Funeral Care, Insurance & Life Services businesses, that the things that make a working day average are more to do with the number of hours spent on Teams calls, keeping up with a variety of communication channels (email, Whatsapp, Teams, text & Yammer) and multi-tasking on things I need to do / make happen at the same time. It’s busy, crowded and fast-paced but I love it.

What is the most random thing on your WFH desk? 

A calendar showcasing pictures of my three cats, one page per month, which my husband buys me religiously every year. Having hot-desked in most of my jobs for years now, this isn’t usually something that makes it to the office at all, but during lockdown, it’s got pride of place!

What’s the best thing about your job? 

The variety. I love the spinning of many plates and also that I can go from being in a meeting about creative work, to ensuring we’re getting the best return on our marketing spend, leading our team huddle, to speaking to the MD of one of our businesses about their vision for the future proposition and presenting to senior stakeholders on our future strategy. Oh, and the fact that I’m entrusted with the brilliant Coop brand.

Who was your last email from? 

A reminder from the team that I need to complete the 360 degree feedback survey about Lucky Generals, one of our key strategic agency partners – they get to do the same about us and it’s a really valuable way of being clear about what’s working and where there are opportunities for improvement on both sides of our relationship.

Lucky Generals are an Oystercatchers Club member and you can hear from their Founding Partner, Andy Nairn, in a Mini Squawk from January here.

What is the best piece of advice you have received? 

That you can always choose your response to whichever situation you find yourself in.

And the best piece of advice since Covid hit that’s helped with your sanity?

Although it’s hard to do with home and office life blended… switch-off from work and give yourself the time and space you need to recharge and keep perspective. Wherever possible, set a deadline for when the laptop is going to be closed and you walk away (and if you can’t walk away to a different room, a tip one of my team shared was put your work stuff on a tray and slide it under the sofa / bed etc. so it’s out of sight and your home is yours again!).

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

A vet – before I realised that I couldn’t deal with any of the sad or gory stuff. That all changed anyway when I did my week of work experience at M&S as a teenager and fell in love with retail…

What’s your current favourite campaign and why? 

I can’t be the only person to have said this, but the Just Eat campaign is brilliant; I love it as a punter as well as appreciate it as a marketeer. They’re doing a phenomenal job of hard-wiring the brand into consumer brains in a hard-fought market, giving their brand a catchy sonic logo and a famous song with an addictive tune & film. Everyone can remember 118118 for the same reason all these decades(!) later.

Marketing predictions for the next year?

Automation, digitisation and omnichannel marketing touchpoints will continue at pace, but I think the skill will need to come more and more from how we ensure creativity can cut-through and how we set our teams up to achieve that blend.

I’m fascinated to see how the trends coming from Covid that are predicted to be enduring will play out; on one hand we have people caring more about “me and my immediate world” and on the other, community and sustainability continue to grow in importance. Finding the marketing sweet spot within this is going to be vital. 

And a light hearted one to finish on – If you could have any super power?

To be tele-ported. I love being in many and differing places… I just don’t like the time it takes to get there unless it’s a leisurely, meandering trip, which mainly isn’t the case!

Last month we had the Co-op's Matt Atkinson, Chief Customer and Membership Officer, feature on our Festival of Marketing panel to discuss how the Co-op achieved its highest share in almost two decades by rediscovering its roots and you can read more about it here.


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