HOUSTON — Four years ago, fresh off its spinoff from ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66 hosted customers — motor fuels marketers, dealers, resellers, aviation marketers and fixed-based operators — at a Marketing Conference & Trade Show in Las Vegas to share the spirit and vision of the new standalone company.
Moving into 2017, the Houston-based company wanted to build on the momentum that started in 2013, while looking toward future success.
"As we thought about 2017, we asked how we could build on what we started four years ago," said Mike O'Connor, manager of programs for Phillips 66. "It's not a change in direction, but it's continuing to focus and build on the things that can help our customers move their businesses forward.”
Momentum: Driven By Excellence, the 2017 Phillips 66 Marketing Conference, was held May 23-26 in Las Vegas and highlighted the next phase of growth for Phillips 66 and its customers The conference saw close to 1,500 participants — Phillips 66 customers, exhibitors, sponsors and employees, among them.
During the conference, "our customers heard about how consumers' expectations have changed over time and how our new image program, mobile payment strategy, and advertising initiatives are targeted toward the experience they expect," said Greg Hart, manager of brand at Phillips 66.
Seminars also focused on customers' needs and elevating their businesses. In addition to four business sessions hosted by Phillips 66 marketing leadership, 28 educational seminars were led by industry and subject matter experts focusing on the evolving marketplace, consumer demands, succession planning, technology trends, and operational excellence.
"We are taking three or four days out of our customers' busy lives. It's a time investment on their part," O'Connor said. "When they leave, we want to make sure they have a clear direction on where the business is going, what they need to do to grow their business, and how Phillips 66 is with them all the way."
The conference provided an elevated stage for Phillips 66 to formally recognize the industry-leading work its customers do in their markets and the positive impact they make in their communities, too.
"Many of our customers are driven by excellence, so this was a chance to recognize and celebrate their momentum as well," O'Connor noted.
In a break from other conferences, Phillips 66 made the decision to offer more fundamental content — choosing fewer, but more impactful things for its customers to focus on.
"We emphasized that it's both strong assets and strong operations that win in the marketplace today. Those two things in conjunction are important for our customers to be successful," Hart explained, adding that the company is focused on today's consumers, what they demand, and how the Phillips 66 retail excellence program can be used to help operators achieve operational excellence.
"We shared a lot of other tools that can help our customers improve their businesses," he said. "We're in this together. It's a collaborative effort to win in the marketplace."
SIGNATURE IMAGE PROGRAM
One of the big reveals at this year's event was the Signature Image Program for Phillips 66, Conoco and 76 branded locations. The new image program complements each brand's unique heritage, while also incorporating modern materials and bright canopies.
The new program will complement the existing Premier Image Program, which was introduced in 2014 and includes the Phillips 66-branded Shield and 76-branded Wave sites.
Phillips 66 wanted to create an image that was adaptable to customers of all sizes, ranges and financial capabilities. The result was the Signature Image Program for all three brands: Fusion for Conoco, Rivet for Phillips 66, and Crest for 76.
"It is time for us to refresh our look out in the marketplace in a way that gives our customers options to choose an image that works best for them and their location," Hart said. "Our customers are excited about having images that are bright, unique, modern, affordable, and stand out in the marketplace."
Features include an upgraded canopy treatment with LED lighting, new pump valances and skirts, and, if required, modifications to the main ID sign.
"One of the most important things to consumers is having a safe and well-lit environment where they can purchase fuel and convenience products," O'Connor said.
Unlike the 2014 Premier Image Program, the new Signature Image Program includes Conoco branded sites. "Conoco is a very important part of our portfolio. Our customers in the Colorado area and the Rockies, and Montana are very excited to see the new image. Fusion brings back the historical Conoco brand image with the use of a triangle — that received a lot of favorable feedback from our Conoco customers," he detailed.
Phillips 66 also looked to its past for the new 76 brand image — bringing back its familiar orange. "We are going back to the iconic 76 orange, and the long-time 76 branded customers are excited about going back to its roots," Hart said.
In all, the company plans to reimage 5,000 sites over the next five years.
But O'Connor added, "It's not just about the physical aspects, but being able to deliver a positive consumer experience."
MOBILE CONNECT EXPERIENCE
Part of delivering a positive consumer experience is keeping up with and introducing new technologies and innovations, like mobile payment solutions. At the conference, Phillips 66 customers were able to get a close-up view of its new mobile commerce solution. Announced last year in collaboration with Chase Pay, the new platform will connect retail-fueling consumers to Phillips 66, Conoco and 76 branded locations through a mobile app using a dynamic station finder, enabling a mobile payment wallet, and delivering contextual commerce digital offers.
A "Mobile Connect Experience" at the event included previews of mobile integrations with Synchrony Financial, a new branded debit product, loyalty points facilitated by KickBack Rewards Systems; and an in-vehicle payment demonstration with Honda Developer Studio that allows consumers to purchase fuel from the infotainment unit of their car.
Phillips 66 is currently testing Chase Pay at select locations in Texas and Oklahoma, with plans for a nationwide rollout toward the end of this year.
The company is also working to integrate existing technologies, such as its proprietary credit and loyalty programs, into a comprehensive mobile commerce platform, creating a seamless commerce experience for consumers.
"We designed our mobile solution to build on top of technology our customers should already have at their store and, unlike some of our competitors, our offering doesn't just work at the pump, but inside the store as well," Hart said. "It's designed to work for our customers' entire business."
Phillips 66 customers responded favorably to the Mobile Connect Experience.
"At the conference, we were overwhelmed with the excitement from our customers to get to mobile technology sooner rather than later," Hart said. "In the first hour of the Mobile Connect Experience, there were over 100 demos. They are excited to go all-in on mobile technology because they realize it's a must to remain competitive in the marketplace."
In addition to the reimaging and mobile initiatives, Phillips 66 is evolving how it advertises and communicates with consumers. By mixing traditional advertising with heavier digital advertising, Phillips 66 will be able to get closer to the consumer by being where they are — including Facebook, Twitter, digital radio, and navigation apps.
"The marketplace is rapidly changing and we are bringing new, innovative solutions to the table for our customers," O'Connor said. "We want to support our customers with the resources and tools they need to help power toward future success."
Phillips 66 owns the Phillips 66, Conoco and 76 fuel brands. These branded fuels are sold at more than 7,000 retail fuel sites across the United States.
Click on the image above to see the Signature Image Program for all three brands.