Supply Chain Branding, Part 1

Issues & Investments.

· logistics and systems,blog,marketing

Part 1: The Issues and Investments.


In this article for Storytime, I wrote about the struggles as well as the main reasons people invest in brand building. To my surprise, I find myself in a unique position of being able to speak not only to marketing but also to the logistics and supply chain industry - which I worked in for ten years. As such, I reckon it would be a great thought exercise to apply a marketing and branding lens to the world of LSCM.


To make sure that we are on the same page, here is a recap of the top three things most people struggle with regarding branding and marketing.



There are a lot of platforms and places to put your messaging, so it's natural for this to be overwhelming and confusing. Establishing the right mix of channels, be it LinkedIn, Instagram, email newsletters or in-person events, is a job in and of itself.



Being across so many channels also affects how consistently you present your brand. Many people struggle with this because they don't have access to the right tools and techniques that allow a brand to scale.

There are three consistent struggles when it comes to consistency:

  1. Having the correct branding (assets and collateral) used consistently across an organisation.
  2. Posting consistently - every day, week, or month.
  3. Developing a consistent message that communicates the correct message across each placement because each platform has its own tone, language and norms.



When creating content, many businesses overlook their goals and who they are trying to help. As a result, the content created often misses the mark. It fails to engage an audience mainly because there has been no time spent understanding what content is valuable to the audience and understanding the difference between a piece of content and an advertisement dressed up as an organic post.


There's also a phenomenon that happens all too often. You can read about it here.


Supply chain-specific struggles with marketing.

Nodes are not findable.

Clients who look for an operator and their services cannot find the business or its offerings, resulting in lost opportunity and potential revenue. This issue extends beyond system suppliers and consultants and covers trucking companies, warehouse service providers, shipping and freight forwarding, and packaging providers.


You could point to any part of the process and find culprits doing themselves a disservice even if they provide a great outcome.


Not being findable is an issue regardless of being a large company is going through a tender or RFP process or a small online operator is trying to find relevant suppliers. Many of the later types of business we saw pop up during COVID, and you still see the trend continuing today as people try to find additional income and build side hustles to deal with the crushing cost of living.


 They are not recognisable.

Even with a solid track record and a range of helpful services, many supply chain companies, software suppliers, 3PL providers, and industry consultants. Do not present clearly and in a compelling manner that sets them apart from the competition. The branding is not recognisable, impacting how trusted the business is - let alone the perception being put to people.


Why Invest in Supply Chain Branding.


Your visual identity revolves around the shapes and symbols others associate with your messaging, service, and brand. They are the means of recognition, meaning investment in visual identity is an investment in how you present your brand identity.




Your messaging, ethos, approach, and offers are fundamental elements of your brand; however, as organisations grow, systems become complex, and you change which platforms get used to share your message. The original intent, messaging and imagery can spiral out of control and beyond recognition.


Sometimes, this is part of the natural progression of growing your business; in others, you must control your narrative because nefarious agents have hijacked it. These two extremes are the opposite ends of a spectrum. In all instances, as change happens, you need to have control of your branding, messaging, platforms, systems and spending to deal with and appropriately manage issues and opportunities as they arise.




There are several excellent reasons why a brand should not be built on only one platform, from the amount of work it takes to administer each channel, manage the resources you're committing to each placement, and the security risks of spending time developing your audience on a platform you do not own or fully control. Investing in brand strategy is an investment in diversifying your reliance on any single channel or platform to carry your message.



Scale & Consistency.

As your business grows, there is more opportunity on the table. However, with growth comes additional points of failure and limitations to the portable hard drive holding all your original logo files. Branding, specifically brand systems, supports the development of your business.


You cannot talk about scale without discussing consistency.


It's listed as one of the critical struggles mentioned at the top. As your business grows, your assets - such as logos, letterheads, or brochures - will be used by more and more people. Having suitable systems and services in place enables your brand to grow consistently by ensuring everyone is on the same page and using the latest tools to share the brand message no matter where it is being deployed.




Perception is the single biggest reason people invest in brand building, and the surrounding nuances, from scale to consistency to presentation and control, is all to do with being perceived in a different light. To be more trusted, to be seen as credible, to show an organisation's commitment to quality and service.


Doing so can be done differently, from sharing expertise, engaging influencers, or creating unique campaigns. All these efforts relate to the story you are trying to tell and the brand you're trying to build.




Part 2: The Three Biggest Opportunities in Supply Chain Branding.


Note: if you want the full eBook on this subject, send me a direct message.