What Chocolate Can Teach You About Brand Reputation

The Resilient Enterprise | The riskmethods Blog
easter_egg

April 9, 2019

Whether or not you celebrate Easter, you can’t escape the rows and rows of chocolate bunnies lining the grocery store shelves. As supply chain nerds, that got us thinking—what are some of the supply chain concerns for manufacturers of chocolate-based products?

by Erin Denlea

One of the biggest topics of conversation around the chocolate supply chain has to do with sustainability. Greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage during the life cycle of dark chocolate, as well as chocolate derivatives like cocoa powder and cocoa butter, are both top concerns.

Chocolate manufacturers globally have taken strides to address their environmental impact. Companies like Mars (which produces products like M&Ms and Snickers) and Mondelēz International (which provides cocoa for well-known brands like Toblerone and Cadbury) both have devoted significant funds to sustainability efforts. And chances are that they do this not just to help, but also because they know it’s a good move for their brand reputation.

What should your takeaway here be? This move by chocolate manufacturers is reflective of a larger movement throughout all companies that have supply chains: Increased focus on brand reputation as part of procurement and supply chain processes. Whether your company is a chocolate producer or an automotive producer—or anything in between—the impact of actions by your suppliers and throughout your supply network matters to your customers. And if something matters to your customers, you better believe that it should matter to you.

Monitoring your supply network for potential brand damage events is also key.

easter-bunny

Making contributions to relevant causes is one way to help your brand reputation, but it’s not the only thing companies should be doing: Monitoring your supply network for potential brand damage events is also key. For one thing, any kind of supply chain disruption can cause some damage—if you can’t produce your product, you can’t make your customers happy. It’s important to know what’s happening, where it’s happening and how it’s going to affect you (see the image for an example of a risk event impact zone). In addition, though, any violations of compliance or corporate social responsibility expectations in your supply chain can also cause major problems (Apple and FoxConn are an example of this).

The best way to stay on top of risk from brand damage is to make sure that you’re keeping an eye on everything. If you’re the first to know when something might go badly for your brand, you’re going to be able to put a plan in place to address it more quickly and mitigate the effects of it more effectively.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, we hope you get to enjoy some sustainably-produced chocolate this spring—and that you think about how you can protect your own supply chain while you do it. 

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Erin Denlea

Marketing Director, NA

Erin is the director of marketing in North America at riskmethods. Got questions about how supply chain risk is threatening your business? Drop her a line at om@riskmethods.net.

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