Marketing your Supply Chain

In an age of transparency, marketing your supply chain can be a powerful tool.  It shares a story with the consumer delving deeper into the fabric of a company.

McDonald’s just rolled out a new marketing campaign that highlights the farmers and ranchers in their supply chain.  This campaign probably comes in light of the recent exposure about their McMuffin egg supplier and the abhorrent conditions in which the chickens were living.

Instead of thinking about the corporation that stands behind the McDonald’s brand, the consumer now subconsciously connects with the farmers and ranchers working in collaboration with McDonald’s.  The Chief Marketing Officer, Neil Golden called this advertisement campaign the telling of the ‘farm-to-fork story.’  This marketing campaign does a great job ‘Americanizing’ the McDonald’s brand.

This makes me wonder about how deep most companies can dig into their supply chains.  Let’s be honest, McDonald’s is just skimming the surface with this campaign.  There are so many components that actually go into their products.  Their french fries do not solely consist of potatoes from Frank Martinez’s farm.

With the globalization of products, and product components coming from all over the world, it is probably a dire task for many industries to actually share with consumers where they source their product parts.  With greater supply chain transparency, there would be a significantly higher level of trust between the consumer and brand.  Of course this would be a tall order for most companies with the majority not wanting to share the details.  Fair Trade certified products and partners are actually leaders in this area.

There is a lot to be said for marketing a supply chain.  I wrote in a previous post that Values Marketing will be a trend in 2012.  It is about marketing the values of an organization.  Supply chain marketing fits right into this trend and yes, we will most likely be seeing more campaigns like McDonald’s in the coming year.  Hopefully, these campaigns will model after Fair Trade products that truly exemplify the entirety of their supply chain and not only one component that goes into the product.


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