What is Supplier Branding and why should you care?

At Supplier Day, we strongly believe that the concept of Customer of Choice is no longer fit for purpose. Organisations and their Procurement Functions need to shift their focus beyond their strategic suppliers and onto the value any supplier can provide, especially when they feel passionate and excited about a particular initiative. And the best way to do this is by creating their very own Supplier Branding.
What is Supplier Branding and why should you care


You have a goal. You have a strategy. You’ve communicated your next steps to your suppliers. You have even held an event to address your suppliers directly. But for some reason, it just still is NOT working. 

Your desired outcome of garnering support and alignment for your new plans has fallen on deaf ears and didn’t come close to inciting your desired level of engagement. Even actions you believed would create a positive influence on your supplier relations, like supplier-focused events, are still not generating significant change or progress.  

Organisations and their Procurement functions have always focused their efforts on establishing themselves as a Customer of Choice with their suppliers. However, it is becoming exceedingly difficult to achieve Customer of Choice status and even in doing so, it doesn’t guarantee any further success. They are struggling to build the collaboration and externally sourced innovation they need from their strategic suppliers, as well as significant buy-in to tackle issues like Sustainability. 

At Supplier Day, we strongly believe that this is because the concept of  ‘Customer of Choice’ is no longer fit for purpose. 

Organisations that fail to recognise this change risk losing the opportunity to connect with their wider supplier base and develop relationships that exist beyond the realm of transactional obligations. Their directive needs to shift focus beyond their strategic suppliers and onto the value any suppliers can provide, especially when they feel passionate and excited about a particular initiative. 

How can they do this you ask? By developing a strong and iconic Supplier Branding. 

The strongest Procurement teams have clear values and can communicate how they relate to their strategies. Beyond this, they know how to use their values and strategies to mobilise their suppliers towards their common objectives. That’s what a Supplier Brand is – Caitlyn Lewis, CEO


What is Supplier Branding


Supplier Branding is procurement’s opportunity to align suppliers to an organisation’s mission, values, and vision for the future. 


The Brand:


Supplier Branding is a Procurement function’s opportunity to place themselves at the forefront of their organisation and showcase the best they have to offer, not just to their supply base but also to their business partners.

We all know the value of a strong brand. From clients to consumers, and even stakeholders, everyone wants to work with a company that they feel aligned with. In the world of customers and consumers, branding is the single most important element of building strong relationships. Supplier Branding takes the benefits of a strong consumer brand and applies it directly to Procurment’s SRM strategy.

Similar to what Recruitment did in developing Employer Branding to ensure they were attracting the best talent to their organisations, Supplier Branding encompasses the way a company is perceived by its suppliers, and how it can enhance the relationship between a customer and its suppliers. Supplier Branding reflects the values of its organisation, attracts like-minded suppliers and provides a framework for, active involvement from suppliers towards achieving common goals.


The Aim of Supplier Branding: To develop a strong and desirable Procurement brand that suppliers want to be a part of


It is an opportunity for companies to develop a strong brand that projects the best of your procurement department into their vast supply chain, attracting suppliers that complement your values & ethics, corporate attitude, and vision for the future. By investing in creating a good supplier brand organisations are committing to 2 things:


  1. To present themselves as a desirable brand.
  2. To actively work towards making their branded image into a reality that their supplier personally experiences, just as much as they hear about it.


This is something that Bayer has already begun to execute with their Igniting Networks brand. Igniting Networks goes beyond a simple logo and tagline emblazoned across hoodies and caps. It’s how Bayer Procurement has built affinity with their suppliers by developing an event series where suppliers can come into direct contact with what it means to be a part of Igniting Networks. With 2 virtual events a year, under the moniker “Igniting Networks LIVE” and their bi-annual face-to-face event Igniting Networks Festival,  Bayer has positioned their brand and the touchpoints suppliers have with it as the keystone to their SRM strategy.

 Find about more their Igniting Networks identify via our blog: The True Value of Regular Events 


The Strategy: 


Supplier Branding is Procurement’s licence to operate


“Supplier Branding is procurement’s new licence to operate that extends their remit from operational to strategic, and embeds their values both with suppliers and internal business functions to go beyond what they achieve today.” – Caitlyn Lewis, CEO of Supplier Day 

The time for Procurement to break away from its transactional purpose and, negative perception is now. With sustainability so high on the agenda for many companies, Procurement needs to be at the forefront of strategic relationship-building. However, it is difficult to build the necessary credibility to do so. 

Supplier Branding is Procurement’s opportunity to establish and execute a noteworthy reputation for forging outstanding relationships that becomes the defining factor across the organisation and supply chain. It is a process that Procurement should own and spearhead, becoming the proof of their new identity within the organisation.

By using their Supplier Branding as the basis of any new or even existing supplier initiatives, organisations can alter the way both suppliers and business partners view and feel about the function. Moving away from simply informing suppliers of their latest goals and targets, Supplier Branding aids in developing suppliers’ investment into the company on a practical and emotional level. Suppliers not only see the strategic importance of working with their customer but also feel personally motivated to work in tandem to achieve a common goal. 

This aligned motivation will aid in significantly accelerating the progress of any initiative, allowing Procurement to achieve their set goals, simply by unlocking the otherwise hidden value of any supplier – even if they would not traditionally be categorised as ‘strategic’ – ultimately aiding in deepening their long-term supplier relationship. 


Why is this better? 


Supplier Branding underpins your entire SRM strategy by defining your long-term goals with your suppliers from the very start and allows you to devise a step-by-step process that deepens that relationship in a beneficial manner for both you and your supplier. 


This is a chance for organisations to get it right from the beginning: 


Too many companies embark on SRM initiatives but realise halfway through that they are not gaining the level of buy-in and engagement they had anticipated. This is a colossal waste of time, effort and money, not just for the organisation but for the suppliers as well. Being enticed into a process with the hopes of gaining something new but being left wanting more is not the best image any supplier should have of their customer. 

Developing a Supplier Brand ensures an organisation is being strategic about what they want to convey to their suppliers and why from the start. This develops a strong foundation to uphold your initiatives every step of the way and limits the potential for messaging/actions to stray away from it. This maximises transparency between the organisation and their supply chain while securing Procurement’s image as a critical and successful function within the organisation itself. 


CPOs need to be competitive:


Procurement is becoming increasingly competitive and suppliers are in high demand. Despite the vast world of supply and demand, many suppliers are working with multiple customers, many of whom are in direct competition with each other.

As a result, CPOs and Procurement are in constant need to develop more ways to entice strategic suppliers into favouring them and their new innovations over their competitors, all whilst attracting new suppliers to work with them. 

While this seems very similar to becoming a Customer of Choice, Supplier Branding targets a wider audience, not just your strategic suppliers. 


Supplier Branding is Customer of Choice at Scale – Caitlyn Lewis, CEO


It also eliminates all notions of a transactional relationship. Instead of gaining preferential treatment in exchange for financial and organisational benefits, they gain supplier support and alignment by becoming a desirable Procurement function. Supplier Branding appeals to a supplier’s conscientious and optimistic side while providing transparent communication on the actions that they can come to expect in their journey towards a common goal. 


Supplier Day are the “Custodians of Supplier Branding”


Your Supplier Branding strategy should be a multi-faceted approach to enticing and engaging your suppliers. In addition to consistent messaging and communications, hosting events such as supplier days are a great way to regain your supplier’s focus and attention, especially when you want to direct it towards the next steps and/or best practices. 

In fact, regular events are the best way to frame your supplier engagement timeline. They not only act as platforms for informative exchanges and corporate updates but also as markers for core milestones throughout your Supplier Branding journey. 

At Supplier Day, we pride ourselves on being the “Custodians of Supplier Branding”. We work closely with our client’s Procurement function to identify and devise the best plan to create and execute a Supplier Brand bespoke to them and their needs. 

Leveraging best-practice knowledge, we develop events that capture the essence of our client’s Supplier Brand and translate their core information into entertaining, engaging and informative sessions. Our event ROI for clients like Bayer and Siemens is proof of what can be achieved with strong and captivating branding, as well as engaging content.


Check out our Client Case Studies here


Simply starting with one event can kickstart your journey towards developing your own Supplier Brand, complete with your very own event series. 

An event series executed in coordination with your Supplier Brand Framework gears you and your organisation towards achieving long-term alignment, buy-in, and strategic support from your suppliers, all aiding you in achieving your core Procurement goals such as Sustainability, Decarbonisation, and other Procurement based challenges. So why not start today to achieve your goals, with the help and support of your suppliers?


To find out more about how Supplier Day can help you develop your very own Supplier Brand, and the benefits of hosting regular events as part of your Supplier Branding Journey, book a meeting with our Sales Team today.