Do you wonder how top brands outrun the competition? Content marketing may be the latest “it” tool for brand marketers, but look closer and you’ll find an old standby — the supply chain — being used to separate the best from the rest. 
Here’s how one top brand differentiates by combining great content marketing with a superior and sustainable supply chain.

Delivering on Brand Promise

As a self-confessed supply chain geek (bordering on obsessed fan), I have long maintained the singular importance of supply chain to brand performance:
“The best companies are increasingly finding new ways to compete by leveraging innovations that are informed by new customer data, which is being collected in new ways, and in turn made possible and practical by their high performing supply chains.”
No surprise then that each year I eagerly anticipate the Gartner Research Top 25 Supply Chain, an annual ranking of firms from the manufacturing, retail and distribution sectors based on performance plus analyst and peer opinion. This year, for the first time, Gartner created a new Masters category and recognized Apple and P&G for their long-standing leadership. According to Gartner research VP Stan Aronow, Apple “blazed new trails with its demand creation capabilities” and P&G was “one of the first to embed the concept of a consumer-driven supply chain.” 
To me, this Masters honor is a lot like being voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for a remarkable body of work — much like this year’s legendary rock star inductees The “5” Royales. In this case though, we’re talking about stars that are known for their supply chain’s ability to deliver on brand promise
I have a nominee of my own to share with you.
While the Royales big hit is Think, I want to nominate a company whose mantra is “Just Do It” for my award. Yes, my rock star is Nike, and here is why I think it deserves the title.

Content Marketing Rock Star 

Nike is THE poster child for using content marketing backed by supply chain excellence to drive brand performance. 
Nike is not only a perennial Top 25 Supply Chain company that has risen to number 10 in the Gartner ranking, it also repeatedly appears on top brand lists, currently ranking number 18 on the Forbes Most Valuable Brands list. Academic research confirms the link between supply chain excellence and brand, yet few marketing and brand executives truly understand their company's supply chain. As brand strategist Joseph Benson said, “[Supply chain] is often regarded as either a nuisance or an irrelevance.” It's notable then to see a company that truly gets the connection between brand marketing and supply chain performance, and has integrated both in its go-to-market.
Nike's chief marketing officer Trevor Edwards is a rock star in his own right. At times touted as the next CEO, he is currently ranked number three on the CMO Top Exec list. As president of the Nike brand, Edwards “has directed some of the brand’s most substantial innovations.” In particular, Edwards has led Nike's utilization of social media content marketing to interact with consumers around the world. 
Nike has long been an advocate of content marketing, believing that traditional ads only interrupted people from what they wanted. "Content Marketing Goes a Long Way" highlights that “Nike has hundreds of social accounts that target specific sports, products, and locations. On Twitter there are at least 100 verified accounts, Facebook boasts roughly 20 verified profiles, and countless Instagram accounts.” Nike embodies the precepts of effective content marketing. 
“It’s not the action of pushing ads that encourage you to buy something, it’s the goal to inspire and communicate through the creation of sharable content that your brand is the best on every level.”