- 19 Aug
BP Retail Fuel Sales Bouncing Back
The Washington Post published an interesting article about BP and its brand recovery efforts. According to John Kleine, executive director of the BP Amoco Marketers Association, which represents the station owners, BP retail fuel sales are returning to previous levels. After the spill, sales dropped off 40 to 50 percent at some stations on the Gulf Coast. Now in most cases retail fuel sales are down only about 10 percent on the gulf and less than 5 percent in other parts of the country.
Station owners said they began facing angry protests after the spill and turned to BP for help. The company gave them signs and took out print and radio advertisements emphasizing that the stations were locally owned and operated. BP helped the owners at some stations with customer appreciation campaigns including free car washes and free cups of coffee. Corporate staffers flew in to stand in driveways and listen to customers’ concerns, Kleine said.
“Where the owner is known in the community, there is a less significant impact,” Kleine said. “I think BP has to recognize that the local face is really a value to their brand even more so than anybody thought.”
I’m certain that the increased community awareness of local dealer ownership as Mr. Kleine describes is helping BP fuel price sales return to normal. And as news of the gulf spill continues to diminish, and public attention wanes, positive public feelings about BP will return to previous levels. But I believe there’s another key factor in play here. In a previous blog, I explained the rebate incentives BP is passing on to fuel dealers, allowing dealers the opportunity to reposition themselves in their local markets with lower priced fuel, rather than the premium fuel price strategy they previously enjoyed. This Washington Post article doesn’t mention these rebates, but I have to believe the lower fuel prices are making a significant difference.