Activity 1. Shell: a New Marketing Campaign

Read the article below which describes how Shell Oil developed a new brand image. What techniques (market research methods) did Shell Oil use?

Hello to the good buys

A new marketing campaign promising hassle-free and faster fuel buying for customers is under way in America. Suzanne Peck reports on the 18-month research project which involved Shell Oil researchers 'moving in' with their customers to test their buying habits.

Three years ago when Sam Morasca asked his wife what could be done to exceed her expectations when buying gasoline, her answer 'that I would never have to think about it any more' made him pause and think. The marketing people from Shell Oil Products, of which Sam is vice-president, were desperately seeking ways to increase the business, and to come up with a strategy which would put them clearly ahead of their competition by differentiating the Shell Oil brands in the eyes of consumers, 'We are big business for Shell Oil, contributing US $7 bn of revenue, and the leading retailer of gasoline, but it is a fragmented market and the mission was to profitably expand the business,' said Sam.

Today, after 18 months of cutting edge research, Shell Oil is on track to make buying fuel at their 8,900 service stations clearly different with a new brand initiative. Its aim is to deliver through facilities, systems upgrades, and new operating practices, a hassle-free fueling experience targeted at specific customer segments.

Over the past few years, the company has been developing detailed knowledge of consumer needs and attitudes, which formed the basis for the new brand initiative. Team leader Dave Yard, manager of Strategy and Planning -Marketing, picks up the story. 'We began with a customer segment study of 55,000 people, who we stopped in shopping malls in six cities for a 45-minute interview into their attitudes, especially regarding driving and cars. The result was that everyone wanted three things from a service stations competitive price, a nearby location and good quality fuel – something they all believed was already being delivered by the industry.'

This meant their buying decisions were influenced by other factors –some wanted full-serve outlets like the old days, some chose a service station depending on whether it looked safe or not. 'There were ten different segments with different needs, and we wanted a better understanding of each of these audiences.'

A focus group was set up for each segment: an anthropological study was carried out, which involved team members spending waking hours with people from each segment, watching them at home and accompanying them on shopping trips to see their buying habits; and a clinical psychologist was hired to create a psychological profile of each segment.

The study indicated that three groups, which comprised 30% of the driving public, should be targeted:

· Premium Speeders – outgoing, ambitious, competitive and detail orientated. They drive upmarket cars which make a statement about them. Efficiency rules, plus fast pumps, quick access and payment.

· Simplicity Seekers – loyal, caring and sensitive, frustrated with complexities of everyday life. Want simple easy transactions.

· Safety Firsters – control orientated, confident people, like order and comfort of the familiar. Higher value on relationships and go out of their way to stations that make them feel comfortable. Prefer to stay close to cars.

'The common thread was that they all wanted a taster and easier service than anything already available,' said Dave: 'so the study ended and the launch began.'

The field organisation and Shell Oil retailers combined forces to determine how to eliminate the little hassles that customers sometimes face, such as improved equipment and clearer instructions at the pump. New innovations are currently being test marketed. A new advertising campaign was launched and a sophisticated measurement system introduced to monitor satisfaction, behavior and perception of the brand. 'Fueling a car is a necessity of life and I believe we are ahead of the game – but we won't allow ourselves to stop and be caught up.'



hassle                                    problem

gasoline(US)                         petrol (GB)

to differentiate                       to show how products are different from each other

an upgrade                            making smth. Work better, and do more

to make statement about s.b. to show what kind of person s.b. is

to go out of one’s way          to make an effort

fuelling (up) (US)                   filling up (GB)


Exercise 1. Read the text again and number the different stages in the research project in the correct order.


a. They analysed the results, which showed that there were 10 different consumer segments.

b. Focus groups studied the 10 segments.

c. Shell Oil's marketing team decided to differentiate the Shell brand from the other brands on the market.

d. Shell launched a new advertising campaign.

e. They interviewed 55,000 people about their attitudes to driving and cars in general.

f. Work started on improving products and services.

g. They carried out a detailed study of the market over 18 months.

h. Three groups were chosen as the target markets.


Exercise 2. Find words and expressions in the text relating to 'The Four Ps' of the Shell marketing mix.


Model: Product – good quality


Exercise 3. Match the words from the text with their corresponding definitions.


1. to exceed                          a. a part or section

2. a mission                           b. a group of interested people

3. an initiative                        c. an important new plan with a particular aim

4. a segment                         d. an assignment or task

5. an audience                      e. to find out / to discover

6. a profile                             f. to check at regular intervals

7. to determine                      g. to be more than

8. to monitor                          h. a description of the characteristics of someone or something


Exercise 4.       Find words and expressions in the text which correspond to the following definitions.


1. Many different types of consumer who buy the same product (§ 1) fragmented market

2. The most advanced and up to date (§ 2) c_____ e_____

3. Conclusions people reach about which products to purchase (§ 4) b_____ d_____

4. An informal discussion group used for market research (§ 5) f_____ g_____

5. A shared characteristic (§ 7) c_____ t_____

6. A method of evaluation (§ 8) m_____ s_____

Exercise 5.       Complete the passage using words from Exercises 3 and 4. Change the form of the words where necessary.


As more and more industries are making products specifically adapted to particular 1segments of the market, market researchers are being asked to conduct studies and to compile more detailed 2_____ of consumer groups. Broad classifications based on sex, age and social class are not sufficient for companies operating in highly competitive and 3_____ _____.Questionnaires are carefully designed to 4_____ the exact needs and demands of consumers as well as establishing what affects consumer 5_____ when they choose one product instead of another. Advertising campaigns can then be targeted to appeal to the identified 6_____. Finally, marketing people must 7_____ the success of the campaign and modify it if necessary.


Exercise 6.       Consumers allowed Shell marketing people to 'move in with them' in order to observe their habits and routine. In pairs, discuss the questions.

1. What are the advantages of this type of research over the more conventional data collecting processes?

2. Would you agree to participate (as a potential consumer) in this type of research? Why (not)?

3. Why do you think some people do accept?


Exercise 7.        Read this description of a Shell TV ad called 'Stealth' and discuss the questions in pairs.


'Stealth' – A driver in a sporty Jaguar presses a button to avoid road obstacles, and is refuelled by a Draken jet aircraft while travelling at speed between skyscrapers.


1. Which of the target profiles described in the text would it appeal to most? Premium Speeders, Simplicity Seekers or Safety Firsters?

2. What sort of advertisements, do you think, would appeal to the other two target profiles?


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