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Gulf Oil's growing relevance for retailers

Gulf Fuel Retail Franchise Model
One unique advantage of Gulf - aside from the brand - is a franchised model that allows local fuel retail operators the freedom to succeed in their own unique markets. "We don't manufacture fuel or distribute it - Gulf offers a franchise agreement that gives an existing or new network access to the brand, under licence," says Stannard.

"Gulf does not get involved in the day to day business of the fuel service station operators. Licensees can source fuels from their chosen supplier and set their own fuel price levels. Our only criteria is that all of the fuel service stations are branded according to our visual standard guidelines, and that the fuels sold at those stations are of the correct standard. We will not tolerate adulterated fuel being sold. So those are the main criteria: correct branding and the fuel being of the right quality."

Case Study - Sweden

At the start of 2013, Gulf official lubricants licensee Hansen Racing AB took on the fuel retail license for Sweden. There is significant historical recognition for Gulf branded stations in Sweden from times past and, in many parts of Sweden, it is still fondly remembered as a fuel brand. In fact the news that Gulf was returning to Sweden's forecourts was so big that they enjoyed coverage on TV channel tv4, one of Sweden's top terrestrial TV channels, with almost 20% of the nation's regular viewers.

Hansen Racing AB have partnered with the EMAB Group in order to take on the license and have already enjoyed a significant amount of success in converting existing retail sites over to the Gulf brand. The network stands at 19 sites at the beginning of 2014 and there are ambitious plans to accelerate this growth further over the year.

Gulf Oil International licenses the brand for a minimum period of 15 years, allowing operators time to build up a strong network. "We also agree a rollout programme of stations with the licensee over a period of five to ten years. If there's a good opportunity after carrying out due diligence, we agree a licence for the brand." Other opportunities to increase their revenues include opening a Gulf forecourt shop, linking to a local merchant, selling Gulf branded lubricants through the shop or operating a service workshop.

Operating as a Gulf licensee comes with a number of other benefits, notes Brand Manager Sam Cork. "We have agreements set up with large merchandising companies and licensees have the access to make use of those relationships. There is also a portfolio of global sponsorships that they also gain access to for local marketing benefit. There are also a number of large marketing initiatives going forward that will be available for local markets to use. So there are a lot of things that licensees get, the main thing of course being access to a strong global brand," he says.


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