I am not ashamed to admit that I am a swiftie. I love Taylor Swift’s music, particularly the later albums. If you are cringing reading this and associate Taylor only with ‘Shake it off’ or ‘Love story’ then I implore you to seek out other albums such as Folklore or the latest Midnights. The thing I admire the most about Taylor Swift though is her incredible business acumen. She has created her own universe for her fans in a way that I would argue very few if any other artists ever have. She constantly adapts and looks forward, anticipating what her fans, her major stakeholders, want from her. In fact, to quote Taylor she is ‘so ahead of the curve that the curve became a sphere’
If you are not a fan, before dismissing what I am about to say, please go and read articles on her unique and amazing marketing strategies. As I’m a procurement gal, I can’t help but build comparisons between what Taylor does, and what we as a Procurement function need to be able to do. In essence, I am going to hit you with four ways we need to be more like Taylor Swift.
- Embracing the Power of Storytelling
At the heart of Taylor Swift’s success lies her ability to craft compelling narratives that resonate with her audience. In the same way, procurement professionals can benefit from integrating storytelling into their processes. The procurement journey, from sourcing to supply chain management, involves intricate stories of origin, production, and delivery. By weaving these narratives together, procurement teams can transform mundane transactions into meaningful interactions. I guess you could say that storytelling is coming back stronger than a 90s trend!
Imagine a procurement team sourcing sustainable materials for a product. By sharing the story of the material’s origins, the artisans who crafted it, and the positive impact it has on local communities, the entire supply chain becomes more human, relatable, and engaging for our stakeholders. Storytelling not only fosters deeper connections but also communicates the brand’s values and purpose to stakeholders, enhancing transparency and trust.
2. Understanding Your Audience
Taylor Swift’s meteoric rise can largely be attributed to her keen understanding of her audience. She truly listens to what we want, and her well-known Easter Eggs keep fans guessing and interacting with her. Similarly, in the procurement realm, understanding the diverse needs and expectations of internal and external stakeholders is paramount. Procurement professionals should invest time in learning about the motivations, concerns, and preferences of their suppliers, clients, and colleagues. After all, we don’t want any ‘Bad Blood!’
Adapting Taylor Swift’s approach involves utilising data analytics to gain insights into stakeholder behaviours and preferences. These insights can then guide procurement decisions, ensuring that offerings align with what the audience truly desires. Whether it’s selecting suppliers who share common values or tailoring procurement strategies to fit specific customer segments, audience understanding enhances efficiency and satisfaction.
- Harnessing the Power of Partnerships
Taylor Swift’s ability to collaborate with a wide range of artists and brands has not only diversified her music but also extended her reach into new markets. Similarly, in the world of procurement, forging strategic partnerships can open doors to innovation and growth. Building collaborative relationships with suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors can lead to joint ventures, co-creation, and shared successes.
Procurement professionals should approach partnerships with a win-win mindset. Just as Taylor Swift benefits from featuring artists who bring new dimensions to her music, procurement can tap into the expertise and capabilities of partners to enhance their offerings. This approach fosters creativity, accelerates product development, and drives mutual growth.
- Committed to the Greater Good
Taylor Swift’s philanthropic endeavours are well-known, including her crusade for artist’s rights – even against big players like Apple and Spotify and they reflect a commitment to making a positive impact beyond her music. Similarly, procurement professionals should adopt a holistic perspective that considers social, environmental, and ethical implications. Operating with a focus on the greater good ensures that procurement practices align with broader societal goals.
Procurement teams can prioritise sustainability by sourcing ethically produced materials, reducing waste, and supporting local economies. Embracing Taylor Swift’s commitment to causes larger than herself, procurement professionals can drive change by making conscious choices that ripple throughout supply chains and communities.
So there you have it, I hope I have convinced you with my arguments that there are clear parallels between Taylor Swift and what a procurement function can and should do.
If you are a fellow Swiftie get in touch and let me know! I hope to see you at the Eras tour next year
From the loudest women this town has ever seen