Happy New Year and best wishes to you and yours for 2019! I hope you were able to celebrate the holiday season with loved ones and take some time to slow down and recharge. Last year was incredibly busy for the Esso Branded Reseller network, and I am grateful to each and every one of you for your ongoing support, effort, and passion for the businesses and communities you serve. It is an absolute honour and privilege to work with you.
This time of year, I like to think about the basics, the keys to our business that are the foundation of our collective success. It is a good time to think about your own commitment to safety (although it should always be top of mind) and what you can do to extend your safety journey. Another area is operational excellence… what could be done differently? What are some real pain points? If they relate to Imperial, let us know! If they relate to internal processes, raise them with your supervisor. Then I think of the customer and the competition: what are we going to do differently, what are we going to try to do to get better at serving the customer and win the hearts & wallets of competitive accounts? Lots of opportunity for reflection… for us within Imperial as well.
Looking forward to 2019… as we continue down the path of Vision 2025 – expanding the Branded Reseller network in Canada – the Imperial team is working through a number of different opportunities to help you grow your businesses…. these include more robust communication, increased logistics/infrastructure financial support, increased operational support and coaching. These are all underpinned by ongoing work by the trib leadership teams in the areas of supply reliability and price competitiveness. The market continues to be extremely dynamic… the competitive environment continues to change… and customers keep demanding more each and every day. The fun never ends.
I am completely energized and excited about 2019! Together we have so much potential to truly compete and win in the market.
I look forward to seeing you in my travels this year. As always, reach out to me directly if you have any questions, concerns, and opportunities.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a workshop on innovation and part of the discussion was talking about our purpose… what are we doing here (at Imperial)?
Here is how I answered: “I believe we have the resources, knowledge, and expertise to help Canadian businesses grow.” That’s it. In my opinion, that is what we, Imperial, are here for. And together we do this by helping our customers (you and yours) focus on what matters most to them: reaching their objectives.
Our industry is important, it is critical to our economy and should be celebrated. There is so much passion and energy, a willingness to improve and invest, ensuring long-term environmental, economic, and social sustainability. We should all be proud to be in this business, proud enough to share it with others and continue to push forward for that sustainable balance.
As mentioned at the Esso Branded Reseller Leadership Conference in May, Imperial continues to focus of on growing the Branded Reseller business. Here are a few ways we are working to help your companies reach their objectives:
A number of major infrastructure initiatives are progressing from ideation to execution, these are designed to give the reseller network a competitive edge in the market – making it easier to obtain product from Imperial.
There continues to be acquisition opportunities for our Esso branded resellers across Canada. I am excited about the possibilities and look forward to continuing our conversations on how to grow together. Let’s all continue to keep our ear to the ground to understand the market and our competition to enable this growth to happen in an effective way.
The reseller team continues to focus on helping your organizations grow and work effectively– and continuing to understand where we make things difficult so we can make doing business together easier on everyone.
We now have two operations advisors (Benoit Daigneault – East) and Lori Hillyer _West) who have been charged with adding value to your business on the operations side (safety, operating tips, supply/logistics, cybersecurity, etc.).
Lastly, our marketing team has been kicked off a brand value offer refresh that will help us define the opportunities available across the country and open the door to new offer elements to help draw more business to you. If you are part of this process… feel free to think outside the box… what would make your offer stand out in the market? For those of you not directly involved in this review, please pass along any ideas you might have.
This is my answer to “what are we doing here”; what’s yours?
As we all get ready for fall and changing weather conditions, remember to take care of yourselves and those around you. There is nothing more important.
From April 30-May 2, 2018, nearly 40 Esso Branded Reseller business leaders from across Canada, plus more than a dozen managers from Imperial and ExxonMobil, got together to learn about new industry trends, share ideas and network at the 2018 Branded Reseller Leadership Conference in Calgary.
The theme of the conference was ‘Leading the way,’ and over the two days participants heard from Imperial presenters as well outside experts – all of whom shared strategies and best practices to help branded reseller businesses win in their local markets. The resellers who replied to the closing survey all indicated the event exceeded expectations.
The conference was kicked off with an interview with legendary Formula One racing car driver David Coulthard. Click here for the complete interview The remaining Tuesday morning presentations featured the future of Canada’s fuels industry and an overview of Imperial’s innovative approaches to managing product supply in order to better serve customers and win in the marketplace.
Just before heading off to lunch, First Nation spiritual leader Hal Eagletail delivered a traditional blessing, setting the stage for the afternoon.
Focused Indigenous Relations
The entire afternoon on Tuesday was devoted to the topic of Indigenous Relations. The first presentation, by Imperial’s Jezelle Zatorski, touched on the history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada, and the opportunity to establish more respectful and mutually beneficial relationships in the future. Then, the CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, JP Gladu, spoke about the growing importance of the Indigenous marketplace in Canada, and the fact that incorporating Aboriginal businesses in supply-chain decisions can lead to winning outcomes for all. Third on the program was Imperial’s Jordan Nail, who shared some best practices for engaging with Indigenous businesses, and highlighted how two Esso Branded Resellers – Doak’s Bulk Fuels in northern Manitoba, and Fort McMurray’s Chinook Fuels – have successfully partnered with local Indigenous organizations. The three speakers then fielded questions from the audience. (View the Indigenous Relations toolkit here.)
Rich Kruger dinner remarks a highlight
As usual, the conference provided various opportunities for networking and socializing, with the highlight being the Tuesday dinner at the Calgary Petroleum Club that featured opening comments from Imperial Chairman, President and CEO Rich Kruger (click here for the complete article).
Best Managed Lab Experience
Wednesday morning began with an insight-filled workshop called Best Managed Lab Experience offered by senior consultants from Deloitte. During the session, conference participants were divided into groups that took turns brainstorming best practice ideas in each of the four categories used in assessing Canadian businesses for the ‘Best Managed Companies’ program. (View the workshop report here.)
Safety leadership session
Calgary-based safety consultant Glyn Jones shared insights and practices for developing a leadership culture related to safety and operations. (View presentation highlights here.)
Commercial Marketing and Innovation
Wednesday afternoon began with a session on business-to-business marketing, led by ExxonMobil manager David Lunsford. The second part of this presentation featured Imperial’s Luis Victoria, who delivered a lively case study on the marketing strategy driving the success of Esso Diesel Efficient fuel. The day’s final presentation also came from ExxonMobil and showcased how the company is adopting leading-edge practices to transform the business for the digital age.
According to the closing survey, resellers all agreed the conference met expectations, was worth the investment to attend and provided good opportunities to network and connect. One participant wrote: “Thank you for an informative, educating, entertaining and motivating agenda. Happy to have attended.”
We win together, says branded reseller manager Colin Cochran
After thanking the 19 Esso Branded Reseller businesses represented at the conference for their contribution to Imperial’s fuel sales performance and for being ambassadors for the brand, Colin Cochran spent a significant share of his presentation recognizing a number of important milestones across the network.
Reseller milestones saluted
First, he saluted Dowler-Karn Ltd. – headquartered in St. Thomas in southwestern Ontario – which is celebrating its 75th year of association with the Esso brand. Similarly, he highlighted Harnois Groupe pétrolier from St. Thomas, Quebec, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2018.
How resellers contribute to the community
Colin then gave examples of the many ways that branded resellers are making a difference in the community through their contributions to local hospitals, sponsorships of local sports, and by taking the Stop, Think and Act message to customers and the general public. He also cited examples of the investments various businesses are making to expand and improve their facilities and equipment to better serve customers and represent the Esso brand, and in particular, the new Esso Diesel Efficient fuel.
Finally, he explained his aggressive goal for the business – to significantly increase the network’s fuel volume and earnings by 2025 – and outlined the steps required to make this happen, together with the ways that Imperial is committed to helping branded resellers win.
“When [branded resellers] are successful and win in your marketplace, we win. The support that Imperial has given us to help grow your businesses is tremendous,” he said later. “We have a wonderful opportunity to win – together.”
I hope everyone had the opportunity to spend time with friends and family over the winter break and maybe had a chance to rest. Although the final results are not yet in, I feel that 2017 was a great success and I am very proud of all the work we do together. Well done and thank you!
Looking forward to 2018, we have another exciting year in the works. Imperial and ExxonMobil are adopting a new downstream construct that I feel will help both Imperial and the reseller network improve speed to market, increase competitiveness, and gain market share across the country. This reorganization comes as the long-term Branded Reseller strategy is being renewed. This strategy will increase focus on supply security and reliability, apply the sales excellence principles to deliver more value, and develop the next generation of branded offer for you and your customers to differentiate the brand in the market.
The Esso Branded Reseller network is in a great spot and we need to keep up the momentum of what has been done so far: competitive volume gains, selling the benefits of Esso Diesel Efficient, safety leadership, and operational excellence. Keep it up, you are doing great!
Best wishes for 2018. My team and I look forward to helping you achieve the objectives you have set for yourselves this year.
For me, summer and fall end up being great times to think. Particularly, now that I have been working with you for the last 12 months, it is a great time to reflect on the business. A great time to think and look forward to what might be the Esso Branded Reseller network of the future.
Some of you may be familiar with the “curve of success” – where at some point enterprise performance stalls and degrades after a long period of sustained growth. We have seen a great deal of growth in the last number of years, and now we have the opportunity to learn and determine the best way to continue to win in the marketplace, and to prevent “performance stall”. There is strong support from our organization (both Calgary & Houston) to continue growing the Esso Branded Reseller business and to begin shaping future sustained growth for the years to come. In the coming weeks, several of you will be engaged in discussions to help form our 2025 EBR strategy. I would love to hear what you think will help us all win in the market.
Here are some items to consider as we look to the future:
With competition and customer needs changing, what will it take to make the Esso Brand, and your businesses, the leaders in the industry?
How do we retain and attract new customers and new investors?
What technology/strategies/methods could we implement to differentiate you in the market? How do we leverage your teams to be part of the change?
Imperial & ExxonMobil are investing heavily in innovation; thinking differently about how we shape our offers, and tailor them to suit the needs of the customers. Sitting still and doing the same things puts us at risk of seeing performance stall and degrade over time. Some of you know from recent experiences, I am happy to try something new…with the end goal of a more successful enterprise for all of you. I feel now is the time to start making plans for the next evolution of the Esso Branded Reseller business. So let’s go!
Thank you for all you do for the Esso Brand. Thank you for your ongoing business.