What if Gas Companies Invested More into their Brand?
I assume most people are brand agnostic when it comes to gas stations – they are essentially all the same.
You go to the one that’s convenient or cheapest, perhaps the one where you collect points.
What would it look like if a gas company invested more into their branding?
But first, what is branding?
Branding is the process of creating a unique and identifiable image, name, symbol, or design that distinguishes a product, service, or company from its competitors in the minds of consumers. It involves shaping and managing the perception and reputation of a brand to convey its values, qualities, and personality to the target audience, with the ultimate goal of building customer loyalty and trust.
Effective branding can significantly influence consumer choices and can lead to increased recognition, customer loyalty, and long-term success for businesses.
What would I do if I were hired as a brand consultant for a gas company?
I would first identify my target customers then do a The Valuegraphics Research Company study to figure out what each segment values.
Suppose for our example, the values that are strong are:
These themes would echo throughout everything we do.
👉 I would create a series video ads that tell stories.
…A young couple buying their first car, moving into their first home, driving to the hospital and giving birth.
… A kid going off to college, the family is sad, everyone is outside in front of the house and the parent tosses the child a set of keys to their new car. The child is overwhelmed with gratitude, emotional, and gives the parent a big hug.
…. A group of college friends going on a road trip, excited, they stop at the gas station to get gas and snacks, one of the kids returns to the car and presents his girlfriend with a ring pop and slips it on her finger. They both look at each other in a heartfelt way.
At the end, the voiceover comes on (think old man with some texture to his voice). “Wherever the road takes you, we’ll help you get there.”
👉 Next, I would remodel all the convenience stores associated with the gas stations to be really clean and nice – think Starbucks Reserve. I would drastically reduce the amount of junk that are typically sold in those stores and offer quality options. I may even do a coffee shop with a barista.
👉 I would also have exclusive toys for the kids – you could do a licensing deal with Disney or Marvel. So every time you fill up, you can get a toy for the kiddo – a little action figure or stuffy.
👉 I would redo all the brand colours, logo, uniforms, signage, pumps… everything would get a complete overhaul.
👉 I would bring back full service where our staff greet you, pump your gas, clean your windows, check your fluids. I would pay the staff well and have lots of perks so they take pride in their job and think of the customer first.
👉 Of course, I would still have an amazing loyalty program, which not only gives you points, but you are entered into a draw to win free gas for a year. This prize would be drawn every month and the winners would be notified on the app.
👉 I would also sponsor kids’ sporting teams, events, and charities that align with my customers’ values, i.e. offer scholarships for under privileged youth.
👉 When I think gas stations, I think nostalgia so perhaps I would infuse that into every element as well.
- The video ads may be filmed with an old-timey tone.
- The uniforms could be inspired by a mid-century modern design.
- Inside the stores, perhaps there are framed photos showcasing the company’s history.
- An old-timey pump could be on display.
Now, considering the 5 minutes I spent on this post, you can see how a brand starts to take shape.
Comparing this brand approach to any other gas station, it seems clear to me which one I would choose.
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