Purchasers aim to build brand to boost profession

1 July 2013

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1 July 2013 | Adam Leach

Almost three quarters of procurement and supply chain professionals are trying to boost the profile of the function with their internal stakeholders by developing a brand, SM research has found.

Speaking at ProcureCon Marketing last month, Thomas Holzapfel, global category leader marketing at Deutsche Telekom, proposed that to boost stakeholder relations, marketing procurement specialists should develop a brand for their team. He advised the audience of buyers and marketers that the brand should go beyond the perception as “cost-cutters”.

The latest poll of 100 buyers asked: “Are you developing a brand around your procurement team to build its profile within your organisation?” A strong majority of respondents, 72 per cent, are already working on it, with 28 per cent stating it is not something they are currently doing.

Dan Ware, procurement business partner at the National Trust, told SM he was already building a procurement brand. He explained the intention is to highlight its “connection to the organisational values”, to show “the benefits of good procurement practice”, and draw attention to the “professionalism of the procurement team”.

Tony Morris, head of procurement at Working Links‎, has been working on developing a brand for more than a year. He said while it took a while to take off, it is now paying dividends. “People in the business didn’t understand it at first, but now they see the logo and know it something to do with my team. It has broken down some of the communication barriers and created a talking point.”

John Milne, procurement consultant at Hampco, who was within the 28 per cent of buyers that are not engaging in the exercise, cautioned buyers against stepping into the world of brand development.

“Although it is tempting to join the marketeers and financiers in indulging in ‘business speak’ and consider terms like ‘branding’ we should maintain our professional integrity and resist. [We] have been struggling forever to shake off our perception as mere functionaries within our respective organisations. Any attempts at branding would merely reinforce these stereotypes.”

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