Esso Branded Reseller Offer Refresh Overview.

Submitted by Daphne Nicolle: 

One of our work items for 2018 was to look at our offer to both Imperial end-use commercial customers and the Esso branded reseller (EBR) network. Sounds easy, right?   Look at what you have and update, how hard can that be? Well, six months and approximately a gigabyte of information later, the reseller portion of this work is nearly ready to launch!

Kim Nix and I undertook this project with the goal of identifying opportunities for us to create additional value and help the network move towards Colin’s ambitious vision of the reseller’s business by 2025. We quickly realized that the only way to do this would be to talk with our resellers directly. So, over five weeks in the fall, we met with individuals from nine different resellers, selected to represent the diverse mix of businesses we work with across the country. I can honestly say this road trip was one of the highlights of all my years working with the EBR network! It was lots of fun and very informative.   Returning home the hard work began…the interviews took us weeks to digest…and helped us produce a work list of items for 2019 and 2020 that need to be adjusted to maximize the benefit to both you and Imperial.

Building long term profitable businesses.

Our review showed us that we have many of the right elements and programs in place, but tweaks are needed to help us move towards the 2025 vision. There were a few common responses across the country, many of them positive. The value of the Esso Brand was something all agreed on…it is nationally recognized and enables you to create a connection with customers in communities where your brand may not be as strong. The most frequent concern we heard was the difficulty in finding good drivers. Most agreed that retention is harder than it used to be, but finding the right people to begin with is an industry-wide challenge that is not going away.  We are looking at how we can support you with this issue, but there is no magic bullet. The other common issue was an eye-opener and humbling for me.  Everywhere we went people wanted more communication from Imperial: proactive communication from your direct contacts in Sales, Operations and Marketing; clarity around those roles; clarity on the offer and programs we provide; and more frequent communications on all topics.   I did not realize we had missed the mark on this and it is where the majority of our work will be focused in 2019.

We will continue to offer programs and support under three pillars of excellence – Sales, Operations and Marketing. Each of these pillars has a dedicated support role and programs designed to help you continue to build long term, profitable businesses. In areas where we cannot directly control the items that impact your business (supply reliability, for instance) we will continue to work as your advocates. It is our hope you will see improvements in support and communication in the year to come. Our goal is to help you succeed long term with the right offer and the right programs.

From the desk of Daphne Nicolle

As we race towards the end of the year, I have found some time in between all of the seasonal festivities and preparation for the New Year to reflect on our business and how far we have come in the last few years. I have also squeezed in some training and read various marketing books to better support you as we move forward.

One of the books I’ve been reading is This I Know by Terry O’Reilly.  Terry is a Canadian who has been in marketing for over 30 years.  He started in advertising, but now looks at all components of marketing. Although his book is focused primarily on B2C (business to consumer) many of the concepts he highlights are applicable to the B2B (business to business) world. In my mind, one of the most important questions he asks is “What business are you really in?” He uses Molson Coors Brewing Company as a great example.   Molson, isn’t in the beer business. Even though Molson’s plants are designed to manufacture beer and every Molson delivery truck you see is full of beer cases, Molson isn’t in the beer business. It’s in the party business. 1   What’s your business? Are you in the fuel business or in the business of keeping your customers moving? How you see your business reflects how your company presents itself to the public. As you prepare for 2019 and beyond, take time to read a book or magazine for new ideas, or just take the time to sit back and reflect on the market you operate in and how you reach out to perspective customers. Whatever you do, outside ideas help to expand your business.

Another key part of moving forward is looking back. Kim Nix and I have been working hard the last several months to assess our current offer to the Esso Branded Reseller network. An essential part of this review was sitting down with several resellers across the network to see what is working well, what we could do better and understand how the industry is changing. First, a huge thank you to everyone who gave us their time. We appreciate your generosity and your candor. As you can imagine, there is a lot of information to take in, and we are still digesting it all. Overall, the reseller method of business is working well and we heard this loud and clear. We are not looking to undo what is working well but simply tweak it so it better meets your needs. We heard a number of recurring issues as well as some unique regional challenges and we are using this feedback to enhance our offer and supporting programs to ensure we continue to help you grow and succeed. For example, finding quality drivers is a recurring item, so we are looking to see if there is some way we can help with this part of your business. Stay tuned for the renewed offer.

I hope all of you find time over this holiday season to get away from the office and spend it with loved ones. Take time to celebrate the year that was and the adventures to come.

 1 This I Know, Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence by Terry O’Reilly   Knopf Canada

Feature Article on working Alone

Daphne Nicolle“At the recent Operations Safety Conference, one of the items that came up as a future discussion topic was working alone.    Although the article below was written with farm clients in mind, it is based on Stop, Think and Act, a program most of us are familiar with.   I think you will agree that many of the tips are applicable to drivers, yard staff or anyone else who works alone on a regular basis.”    Daphne



This article is reproduced with permission of WSPS.One is the loneliest number

Working alone is one of the leading causes of stress in agriculture workplaces. While in some instances it can’t be entirely eliminated, it can be dealt with productively.

We know that working alone can be physically dangerous; from sustaining an injury in an isolated location or succumbing to a sudden illness with no one being aware or close enough to help in a timely manner.

But the negative effects of working alone run much deeper than the more obvious physical consequences. Working alone has psychosocial ramifications that are not as easy to identify as a broken bone or sprained back, but can be just as harmful. While the negative effects of working alone apply to virtually all workplace categories, agriculture is particularly susceptible. Be it long hours in a tractor during harvest, fence mending far from co‑workers or doing a complicated repair in a confined space, working alone is often just part of the job.

And while we focus so much on dealing with preventing the physical injuries that can occur when we work alone, the other negative affects get much less attention.

Long hours alone can play havoc with one’s mental state. For those whose livelihood depends on successful harvests and other intangibles, these extended times alone are fertile ground for problems and concerns to take hold, become amplified in our minds and culminate in extreme stress.

Sadly, this stress can affect our focus on the jobs at hand. As we know all too well, even a momentary lapse in concentration can quickly lead to physical injury or worse.

A method to deal with stress: Stop. Think. Act.

Before you, or a worker that reports to you is about to embark on working alone, take a moment to assess the situation.

Is there anything to cause you to believe that they may not do well working alone, especially for an extended period of time? Have they been working alone for consecutive work shifts in a stressful environment, such as a confined space? Are you aware of any personal challenges that they may be dealing with which could make them particularly vulnerable?

Identify any actions that could help alleviate the potential for stress. If they have been working alone for consecutive shifts in a confined space, rotate their work schedule with someone else. Check in with them on how they are feeling about their work on their own. This can be done without crossing any personal boundaries.

And all of the above also goes for yourself. Do a self‑evaluation and consider the possibility of any adverse effects on yourself due to working alone. There may be options you have not considered that could alleviate your own stress. Remind yourself that stress is not only damaging to our health, but causes stress for those around us including our co‑workers and families.

By recognizing stress and working alone as very real hazards, we can take corrective actions that will lead to more positive work experiences.