CSD Cover Story: Chevron Gets Fresh
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Amateurs work until they get it right. Professionals work until they can’t get it wrong. It’s this philosophy that is driving Chevron to display its professional prowess as it prepares for the nationwide rollout of its Image Refresh marketing program.
“Research shows that a key reason customers consider switching brands or gas stations is to try a new, more appealing site, so the Refresh Campaign offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen brand loyalty in existing customers as well as reintroduce Chevron to new customers,” said Shariq Yosufzai, president of Chevron Global Marketing.
“Image Refresh is about revitalizing our facilities and brand image by leveraging our new, more contemporary Chevron logo,” he said.
Image is Everything
The major new elements of the program consist of a multicolored blue and white canopy that features a lit fascia with blue downlighting for a greater visual impact at night along with other features that create a more open feeling.
Chevron also has a new pump design that is cleaner and free of clutter and unnecessary graphics, which fits in with the company’s overall plan to make the unit more inviting to women.
The lighting is another area that was overhauled with both cost and the female demographic in mind. The new units are much brighter – illuminating the entire lot – which makes the facility safer. Plus, utilizing new technology, only two florescent light bulbs are needed versus 72 in previous models.
Going the Extra Mile
If Image Refresh was the only thing Chevron was doing, it would probably be enough to stay competitive in the fight for fuel dollars. But the firm is already looking to take the program a step further.
Chevron plans to launch a package for small marketers in the one- to five-store range that will allow them to upgrade to a retailing solution that includes both Image Refresh and the company’s Extra Mile convenience store concept.
Extra Mile offers a host of upscale food items, a gourmet coffee bar and gives participants access to McLane Distributing for grocery and dry goods.
“It’s a powerful brand offering for an independent marketer, enabling them to compete effectively with other big brands in high-volume and rural markets,” said Danny Roden, vice president of marketing for Chevron.
One new section featured in Extra Mile that is turning out to be special is HydraZone, which is an open-air cooler stocked with bottled water, isotonics and energy drinks. It is located just inside the front doors facing the checkout counter, a few feet from the cash registers. It was developed strictly to capture customers’ attention when they walk in the store and boost impulse sales.
“Our first concern when we added HydraZone was that it would cannibalize cooler sales from the back of the store,” Roden said. “But tests showed no drop off at all in cooler sales. Instead, it increased sales of bottled water considerably.”
Chevron is bolstering its commitment to innovation at a good time, especially in California where retailing powerhouses Tesco and Japan’s Family Mart are growing convenience concepts. Family Mart now has about a half-dozen Famima stores in the Los Angeles suburbs and Tesco will launch its Fresh & Easy concept in the same market in early 2007.
“There is a danger that small operators are going to be become dinosaurs unable to compete with the likes of Tesco and Wal-Mart,” said Mr. Roden. “That’s one of the reason we think the combination of Extra Mile and Image Refresh can give small marketers some ammunition to fight back not only with a powerful brand offering, but also with a solid credit card base and considerable company support.”
Discussion Questions: Are Chevron’s Image Fresh and Extra Mile programs the right response for small operators looking to meet both the current and impending
competitive challenges their businesses will face? What are the keys to success?
Chevron plans to measure the progress being made with its Image Fresh and Extra Mile programs. The company has contracted a third party to test every program
store monthly and grade on 120 different points ranging from store cleanliness and service to how well stores receive deliveries.