Brand audits can benefit gas stations of any size and ownership. A brand audit shows if customer expectations are being met and helps in earning brand loyal regulars who will repeatedly visit your store.
If you own a gas station, it’s safe to assume that your store is a franchise of one of the major gas station brands, like Thornton’s, BP, or Shell. This means that not only are you responsible for your gas station’s brand, but you are also responsible for upholding the corporate branding guidelines of the parent company. For this reason, brand audits have become commonplace, and are crucial for gas stations.
When a corporate owner wants to ensure that every location is adhering to proper branding, signage, pricing and promotional guidelines, they will conduct brand audits. Traditionally, during brand audits an un-announced, anonymous mystery shopper will visit your store to check a pre-determined set of guidelines administered by the parent company and the mystery shopping agency.
For example, Thornton’s might hire brand auditors to visit their franchise locations. During these anonymous visits, the brand auditors will have a checklist of criteria such as cleanliness of bathroom, visibility of corporate signage, and any monthly promotions and specials. This criteria will vary each month, but will be carried out to every store in the region.
For example, the brand auditor may visit your gas station to ensure that all of your store’s promotional signage reflects the most current pricing, sales, promotions or featured product offerings. They may also check to ensure marketing materials are in place, such as loyalty rewards program brochures, credit card applications, and so on.
Consistency in branding is important to the success of any franchise, both for the franchisee and corporation. For this reason, gas stations will often be proactive and conduct brand audits to make sure their customers are getting the same experience from store to store across the country.
Photo credit: PuyoDead (Flickr, Creative Commons)