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Supply chain: How branding can help your business through tough times

It’s no secret that the past few years have seen widespread disruptions for supply chains both in the UK and globally. From Brexit to a never-ending pandemic, companies using supply chains have had to deal with variety of issues which have had a huge impact, not only on the end customer but also on the company itself. In this article we’ll explore everything from what can cause supply chains to stumble, to how businesses can strengthen their brand in order to leverage perceptions and ultimately help long-term success.  

More recently, the main strain on supply chains seems to be the shortage of HGV drivers for the shear amount of deliveries that need to be made. The National Office of Statistics reported that during October 2021 one in six adults in Great Britain experienced shortages of essential food items. This, combined with the nation-wide fuel shortage, which was not only caused by a lack of drivers but was also accredited to panic buying, meant that 37% of UK drivers also struggled to get fuel when they needed it.  

So, what else can cause supply chains to have issues? Well, there are several key issues which strain businesses as a whole.  

Causes of supply chain issues  

  • Decline in drivers 

  • Pandemics 

  • Natural disasters 

  • Delays in transport 

  • Product problems 

  • Price fluctuations 

  • Cyber attacks 

While there is no easy fix, businesses should be supporting their supply chains through difficult times and one of the ways to do this is to look to improve the perceptions around their brand. Strengthening your brand is a key way to promote positivity and help the longevity of the business.  

4 ways to strengthen your brand during supply chain issues 

Loyalty of your audience is imperative to any business’ long-term success and it can be developed at any time, during good or difficult times. So, to strengthen your brand and build this following, consider: 

  • Be transparent 

One of the most important ways to strengthen your brand is to be transparent with your audiences. In this day and age, people who interact with brands want to be more informed on the ins and outs of the business. As the driving force behind most purchasing decisions, brands should be considering just how transparent they are and if this can be improved in future communications.  

To improve transparency brands can actively seek out any needs or pain points that may be addressed by the company. Finding this information can be done  through surveys, reviews or via social media platforms. Equally, a good old fashioned phone call can help have a more open conversation with key contacts.  

  • Be forward thinking 

The evolution of your brand is vital. Make sure your brand is prepared for future changes within the industry – albeit this applies to those changes that can be predicted, like digital transformation etc. A prime way this can be addressed is to give your brand a clear direction. With your company’s mission clearly outlined, the business can use it within their messaging and each decision  can be done so in relation to this higher mission or goal that has been set.  

For example, if your business was to get behind the mission of a circular economy, you could use this to help inspire the next generation of HGV drivers, to help address the shortage of drivers. Your marketing efforts will position your brand at the forefront of this transition. Therefore, when consumers and professionals alike think of your brand, this is what is associated to you,  instead of being just another business with a supply chain.  

This type of forward thinking helps your brand become more relatable, trustworthy and inspiring. In the wake of any crisis, your brand can comment and address it, with your ultimate mission in mind. Consistency in this instance is key to success.  

  • Communicate with your staff as well as your customers – be proactive 

Proactivity is essential in day-to-day activities. It’s widely known that people engage with businesses who are most active in the market. That’s how household names become just that, it’s how B2B businesses establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry - leading by example.  

External communications, such as providing transparent industry updates and advising on the current status of the company, is appreciated by all. Addressing relevant issues and signposting how your brand is planning on acting, is key to building  overall trust from your audiences.  

Equally, communicating any challenges or changes with internal staff, clients or stakeholders is paramount to successfully weaving your way through dark waters. Loyalty from within your brand is something that can sometimes be taken for granted, but it can also be your company’s best weapon against any strains.  

  • Be prepared to be agile 

Change and challenges are two factors which will inevitably affect your supply chain at some point. That’s why having the ability to be agile is of utmost importance. So, how can you be agile? The key is preparation and trust in your own brand’s capabilities. To be able to act quickly to a change or challenge is an acquired skill in any B2B business and with the recent issues in supply chains it’s time to focus on what can possibly be improved.  

Those businesses who can adjust to the events happening around them are the ones that inspire trust and loyalty. People want brands they can ultimately rely on, whether that is because, no matter what, they have a plan B, C and D in place, or because they are the first to speak out and admit to struggles when difficulties arise. 

In a previous article we explored why B2B businesses need to invest in their brand in order to succeed. To further explore just how important it is to not only build your brand but to consistency maintain its longevity, click here for more details.  

Clear’s conclusions 

Currently more and more awareness is being formed around the struggles that supply chains face and how much can effect a perfectly-oiled process which we all rely on so much. While this helps people to understand the process, businesses can be proactive in strengthening their brand so that their key audiences favour them over others. Gone are the days when companies could just operate in the background without being questioned. Transparency, communication and overall, honestly are the key themes, not only for a strong brand but, for long-term success in running a leading supply chain.  

Are you looking for a reliable team of experts to help strengthen your brand image? Contact Principal Director, Rachel Arquati: r.arquati@clearb2b.com / 01285 626000 

 

  

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