Your supply chain has evolved over the past few years, and the evolution is set to continue.
Apart from traditional goods and services, your supply chain now also includes newer services that didn't previously exist, and older services through newer channels / models.
Two of these have grown quickly - and are now integral:
Contingent resourcing - independent consultants, freelancers and contractors
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - advertisements
They bring opportunities for better quality service, revenue growth and cost savings.
They also come loaded with risk.
You will have explored many of those risks, but are you managing the association risk - i.e. dodgy characters or inappropriate subject matter?
What are some of the brand association risks? And what do you need to do about them?
1. Contingent resourcing:
The rise of "gig economy" portals means that you don't need to use traditional hiring or contracting sources - you can now find expertise via a range of platforms (e.g. upwork, freelancer, Expert360)*.
PROS - Easier to find quality contractors, at lower cost, with broader reach.
CON - Some don't conduct background checks (e.g. we've seen well-known organisations hiring consultants, without knowledge of their criminal backgrounds).
Do you know who you are dealing with? What would your customer think if they found out that you were engaging dodgy characters to help provide services to them?
Conduct the background check. Avoid embarrassment. Protect your brand.
With customers looking for you online, SEO provides the nudge to help them find you.
PROS - Help customers find you, attract new customers and promote your brand.
CON - Can expose your brand to unwanted association (e.g. earlier this week, a news site published a disturbing account of how a well-known video site was potentially being used** to host child exploitation material. That video site was a search partner for a well-known provider of SEO services).
If your SEO strategy involves search expansion (e.g. using search partners or audience expansion) - your business ads could feature next to undesirable content.
What could this mean for you? Some prominent brands have already been affected.
What would your customers think - consciously or subconsciously?
This is not a trivial risk. You don't want to diminish your brand value.
Evaluate your ad placements. Protect the vulnerable. Protect your brand.
How do you manage the impact of emerging supply chain risks on your brand?
* we aren't suggesting that these platforms are risky; they are merely examples of platforms; they generally offer potential for value, but the risks need to be understood and managed.
** we haven't verified the facts in this story; this is merely an example of a risk that could materialise.