The global supply chain is a pretty esoteric idea. Or at least, that’s the nice, euphemistic way of saying “the supply chain is understood by few, and made excellent by even fewer.”
It’s an incredibly complex system, dealing with the distribution of goods and services from all types of trans-national companies. It doesn’t just impact businesses like Amazon or FedEx either. The global supply chain impacts all of us.
Take your morning coffee, for example.
Coffee beans need to be grown, then harvested. But not just harvested. Once ripe, they need to be inspected, picked, separated and hulled. Steps that involve multiple people.
Then, they get dried and packed away (more people) then passed on to exporters (these are people too). Intermediaries buy, transport and sell beans for global companies (Starbucks, Costa, Lavazza), your local shop (shout-out to Bonaventure Coffee for keeping us all fueled) and the very necessary Aldi-brand Breakfast Blend that you probably brewed up this morning. And there are even more people — roasters, retailers, government agents and so many others — involved along the way.
Making sure that the global supply chain runs smoothly isn’t just what we, as a society, hope for anymore. It’s what we expect. Lucky for us, SLU’s Center for Supply Chain Excellence works hard to improve it every day.
At Saint Louis University, the Center for Supply Chain Excellence (CSCE) trains, supports and informs its community through educational programming.
The Center strives to build profits for the entire supply chain industry, and prepare hopeful Billikens to one day lead the field on a global level. Through big events, publications and interactions with supply chain professionals, the school helps ensure that distribution and logistics keep moving, and that you always get your coffee.
The first was the 20th anniversary of the Center. The second was the 50th anniversary of its founder, Dr. Ike Kwon — a talented professor, researcher and campus-wide legend who hoped to retire later in the year.
Knowing Dr. Kwon was getting ready to say his goodbyes, and in honor of his time and talent at SLU, the CSCE decided to name the department after him. Then, they started planning the party. Or rather, parties. Plural. When your skillset is logistics, planning two big events at the same time doesn’t really stress you out.
Plans were made for both a private naming ceremony and a public gala event. While the ceremony needed to feel exclusive, the gala needed to feel open to everyone so that the Center could raise funds for their “Marketing Into The Future” campaign, and, most importantly, the Dr. Ike Kwon Scholarship in Supply Chain Management.
When the CSCE came to Paradowski, the assignment was already clear: design an invitation and awareness campaign that could elevate both events, while also recognizing the individual merits of attending either the naming ceremony [or] the anniversary gala.
(...wait, that rings a bell. Something that’s strong on it’s own. But when linked together, it gets even stronger and more adaptable. Peanut butter and jelly? Knowledge and power? Socks?? Yeah, socks, that’s probably it…)
The design also had to honor the history of the CSCE and Dr. Kwon, while nodding to the future of the supply chain industry. And then there was the nagging question that we just couldn’t stop asking ourselves:
How do you invite the general audience into such an abstract idea, touching so many sides of the business world — service, collaboration, creative problem-solving, ethics, sustainability, logistics and advanced transportation — simply?
The answer (much like the global supply chain) is: you connect everything, and you do it with excellence.
Blending the beloved SLU brand with the full spectrum of color, we created CASCADE — a multi-medium campaign highlighting the connected, adaptive approach of the CSCE. Thanks to some holographic foil, the CASCADE materials and messaging literally reflected the meeting of past and present, recognizing the Center as an organization with deep history, and a bright eye on the future.
Using custom typography on rainbow, metallic, foil-stamped invitations, we also created tickets that could be redeemed for entry into one or both of the events. Within the fold of the invite, we created space for the CSCE to include a specific number of tickets depending on the recipient. Fewer if they attended the University of Dayton, more if they were tight with Dr. Kwon.
To enhance the exclusiveness of the event, our team built an interactive, side-scrolling landing page with matching animation, where recipients could engage with the Center, donate to their efforts and RSVP ahead of the gala celebration. The CASCADE visual theme was then carried across a digital save the date and printed invitations.
By connecting an “esoteric idea” with colorful, creative concepts, trusting partners and plenty of supply chain coffee, the CSCE was able to do what they do best: deliver an experience that no one — especially Dr. Kwon — could ever forget.