In 2008, just as the financial crisis was revealing the weaknesses in the capitalist system, the Futurscope National Congress in Poitiers passed a resolution to use communication to modernize the image of the “Scop” in France. A Scop (société cooperative et participative) is a cooperative enterprise in which the employees hold the majority of the company’s share capital. The cooperative movement in France wanted to highlight key Scop values like a sense of community and a devotion to sustainability.
The communication campaign was framed within a branding campaign that led to a reshaping of our identity in 2010, with a new name, a new logo, a new denomination (Sociétés coopératives et participatives) and a new slogan (“Democracy is easy for us”). A promotional campaign in 2011 was followed by another in 2012 which included advertisements in the press, radio commercials, videos and more, with the aim of making cooperatives matter in the economic landscape. A cornerstone of this new communication push was to be a beautiful photo book, visually conveying a key message: the full participation of workers in their cooperative enterprise.
Planned for the 35th Scop National Congress, held in November 2012 in Marseilles, the book wants to show the incredible richness, variety and modernity of cooperative enterprises through 40 experiences that refresh the old-fashioned image of the Scop in France, where it is often associated in an over-simplistic way with industry and construction. We decided that only a photo book could change this image. The book chose cooperatives from different sectors and regions around France and features people of all ages in a wide range of diverse environments.
In a Scop, workers are all stakeholders, sharing important decisions, benefits and profits and information on a day-to-day basis. This collective dimension is exemplified in the work of Jean-Robert Dantou, a young photographer who himself belongs to the Picturetank cooperative. He spent 80 days travelling across France, documenting the reality of the selected cooperatives. Together with our communication agency Fondamenti, we came up with three figures to write the text to accompany the photographs. Patrick Lenacker, the president of the Confédération générale des Scop (General Confederation of Scops), describes what a Scop is and why cooperative members love Mondays (the book’s title, Ceux qui aiment les lundis, translates as “Those Who Love Mondays”). Author, teacher and journalist Christian Caujolle offers a perspective on photography in the world of work. And legendary French coach Claude Onesta, who led his handball team to victory in a number of world and Olympic championships, writes about the parallels between the successful management of a sports team and a Scop.
The Congress was only the first stop for our book, as it soon became clear that the topic and the format deserved a larger audience. We contacted Hachette and the Editions du Chêne, a specialized publishing company, who were enthusiastic about the project and assisted with the book’s printing (by the cooperative Laballery) and its distribution in bookstores and online. As we also wanted to make it a dynamic communication tool, a dedicated website was created (www.ceux-qui-aiment-les-lundis.coop), and exhibitions have been organized in several FNAC bookstores and elsewhere around France and Italy.
The campaign and the book have both been warmly welcomed by French cooperatives and others outside the cooperative world, as demonstrated by the fact that the Corporate Business Communication Congress awarded three prizes to the General Confederation of Scops for the campaign and the book.