Coles Wins PRIA’s Best Crisis and Issues Management Campaign

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Customers shop for essentials during the first Coles Community Hour at Coles Southland on March 18, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Coles supermarkets have introduced a dedicated “community hour” to improve access to essential groceries for the elderly and disadvantaged, as Australia experiences unprecedented demand on basic items as people stock up over growing fears over the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Martin Keep/Getty Images for Coles)
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Coles Supermarkets Australia has landed prestigious honours from the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).

The Coles corporate affairs team picked up PRIA’s 2020 Golden Target award for Best Crisis and Issues Management Campaign, for its handling of customer and community concerns since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, Coles’ media strategy was proactive and centred around the transformation of the business to quickly replenish stores with in-demand essentials; manage excess demand, and provide a safe environment in which to work and shop, the company explained.

“A major focus for the corporate affairs team was communicating information about new initiatives such as Community Hour, pop up distribution centres, relief packages, recruitment drives, prioritising online deliveries to the most vulnerable, and rapid and wide-reaching operational changes to 20 million weekly customers,” it said.

Within weeks of the campaign’s commencement, metrics on trust, customer satisfaction, threatening incidents and customer care complaints had returned to pre COVID-19 levels.

An internal survey of 100,000 Coles team members showed they were confident in management’s handling of the crisis, and Coles posted the biggest growth in consumer trust among Australian brands in the 2020 Roy Morgan Trust Index.

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