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By Michael Browne
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Fast on the heels of its name change to Chevron Corp., the refining and marketing giant made several announcements at its marketers convention held here last week, the first meeting to bring together marketers from the company's two North American brands, Chevron and Texaco.
One of the overriding themes of the meeting was to reassure the company's Texaco marketers that the name change from ChevronTexaco is essentially a corporate change that does not impact the company's support of its two U.S. brands.
“Marketing studies revealed that the corporate identity had become fragmented,” Danny Roden, vice president, North American marketing, told the nearly 2,000 attendees. “Our name change has no bearing on our commitment to our individual brands. Chevron Corp.'s plans for the future are predicated on the growth of both brands - Chevron and Texaco.”
During the three-day meeting, the company announced several projects it is launching this year, among them:
• Increased dual branding strategy. Chevron's Texaco stations are now offering the fuel additive Techron, which was previously identified with the Chevron brand. Signage and marketing materials will promote the Techron-enhanced fuel at Texaco stations throughout the United States. In addition, said Roden, “Chevron branded credit cards will be accepted at Texaco stations, and vice versa.”
• POS options. Beginning this summer, Chevron and Texaco marketers will have the option to either own or rent their electronic point-of-sale systems. According to Keith Gardiner, manager, store systems, “Marketers will get to make the choice of their equipment and plan. Chevron will continue to manage software releases, and retailers would be required to stay current with Chevron standards.”
• Prepaid gift card program. While acknowledging that the company is late getting into the game, Roden was enthusiastic about Chevron's new prepaid gift card. “The cards are available in any amount a consumer chooses and are reloadable,” he said. “They'll be accepted at any Chevron or Texaco station and can be used at the pump as well as in-store. We're also planning a rebate program. What we want to do is offer our customers the flexibility they demand.”
• Extra Mile launch. As part of its campaign to take the c-store business to the next level, this summer Chevron will be relaunching its Extra Mile store concept in Seattle as “an upscale convenience alternative,” as well as offering marketers in that area the opportunity to become franchisees of the concept.
“A franchise program offers retailers improved cost efficiencies and customers a consistent retail offering,” said Roden. The company currently has 13 of its projected 35 new Extra Mile stores up and running in Seattle, and so far retailer and customer response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Down the line, according to Shariq Yosufazi, president, global marketing, the company will take a similar approach to its Texaco Star Marts. “We have the No. 1 and No. 2 brands in the country,” he said, “and we are aggressively capitalizing on that.”