At a lower key event, Chevron held its U.S. Retail Summit from June 4-5 in San Diego, Calif. The recession was the dominate theme of the presentations and discussions held. Mike Wirth, executive vice president of global downstream, in his opening remarks listed the challenges faced by the current petroleum marketers, such as falling retail sales, tight credit conditions and falling crude prices. He added, “Today’s recession is the most severe in decades.”
Despite the obstacles, Shariq Yosufzai, president of global marketing, reminded attendees that Chevron remains financially strong. As noted in NPN’s MarketFacts 2009, Chevron brought in record earnings for the company in 2008, over $161 billion. “Record earnings have provided the means to whether the recession,” Yosufzai said.
Additionally, a new development this year is Chevron’s recent foodservice program, Extra Good To Go, to be put into the company’s Extra Mile c-stores. The offering is expected to be installed in 400-450 sites by the end of this year, according to Danny Roden, vice president of global marketing for the Americas region.
By focusing on integrated messages, the Extra Good To Go concept uses different promotional products, such as storefront banners and interchangeable panels at the pump in the forecourt, to create a cohesive, easily identified brand for customers. The marketing strategy thematically links what consumers see in the forecourt area with what is inside the store.
Chevron is offering to pay the installation costs for marketers who are interested in carrying the Extra Good To Go foodservice program, but asks in turn for a five year contract agreement. To insure quality of the sites, the company has developed the Extra Mile Stars program, which is used to evaluate the appearance and image of the store. A secret shopper assesses how well the site matches the standards and guidelines, such as if the hot food items reach a minimum 144 degrees, to assure the foodservice is uniformly experienced by all customers.
Among the events at the summit, several economists were invited to share their thoughts on the state of the American economy, and each had their own predictions of the type of recovery that could take place. Robert Reich, professor, author and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, gave an alphabet-soup rundown of economic recovery theories. He described the conceptual shape of a typical recovery using the letter “V,” where a sharply downturned economy would sharply upturn, but there could also be a “U” shaped recovery, in which the country gradually heals. The “V” shaped recovery, Reich added, could turn out to be “W” shaped, in which the economy appears to have been mended, only to reenter a recession. However, the most feared letter of the theories is the “L” shape, which means the economy never bounces back.