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It was a year full of challenges

The condition of the fuel industry is strongly related to the condition of the economy and the restrictions introduced in its individual branches. Therefore, 2020 was a challenging time in many respects for Circke K.
Published 26/11/2020

The most interesting marketing campaigns carried out in the past year.

Last year, due to its specificity, was full of marketing activities directly related to CSR campaigns carried out by Circle K. As the first petrol station network in Poland, we offered free coffee to the members of state services shortly after the pandemic had started. Other players on the market joined in to support medics, the police and other services, who took care of our safety in this difficult time, thanks to which the help could reach a wide audience. Ultimately, we distributed over a million cups of coffee throughout the Circle K network. Bearing in mind the current needs, we have handed over 6000 packages with food products from our stations to senior citizens throughout Poland. These packages were delivered by Polish Red Cross volunteers, to whom we also donated fuel vouchers. On this occasion, we also involved our employees, who independently prepared packages to be picked up from the station, and a group of customers, who could spend points collected on EXTRA Club cards for this purpose. The culmination of the activities was the Little Thank Yous promotion, where everyone could thank any person for the support shown during the pandemic and give them a voucher for one of the indicated products available at the stations – coffee, cold drink or sweet snack. We are currently working with Foundations and other partners on further actions that will help mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic. In the meantime, we have of course not forgotten about promotions for our customers. This summer, we introduced Froster – a new gastronomic concept that creates drinks based on crushed ice with iconic flavours. They have become a real hit on hot days. Currently, there is also a promotion at the stations, for customers who, by collecting points and magnetic stickers for subsequent purchases and refuelling, can get mascots and glasses with Minions characters. Soon we are also starting the “Marry Winter” campaign (carried out together with Skivak), in which we will encourage Poles to use winter fuels and take advantage of the promotion for a car wash, coffee or snacks available at stations.

Key communication channels? How will this change in 2021?

When planning activities for 2021, we are not preparing a revolution, but we are following the path that we have developed as part of a long-term communication strategy. We focus mainly on digital activities, taking into account various SoMe channels and PR communication. Of course, by giving priority to these channels, we do not forget about other activities – visual materials used at stations, radio cooperation and communication addressed directly to our customers through channels related to the EXTRA Club program remain an important aspect.

The greatest challenges that the company faces.

Although we have been living in a very dynamically changing world for some time now, the events of the last year have introduced an additional dose of chaos to the lives of both companies and consumers. The speed of reacting to the changing market situation and the emerging restrictions have become the key factor. Thus, one of the biggest challenges is finding balance between long-term planning of strategies, not only marketing ones, and introducing changes in the current decision-making model to make it more flexible and quick.

The most important trends for you.

The long term trend that we consider the most important and which we have been for several years is the development of the convenience area. The functioning of petrol stations is constantly and continuously changing. Currently, stations are not only places to refuel, but also multi-branch centres where you can carry out minor car repairs, wash vehicles, as well as do everyday shopping, rest over a cup of aromatic coffee or eat a quick meal. We use international know-how and introduce concepts tested in other markets – such as the aforementioned Froster.

The condition of the industry. Opportunities and dangers.

The condition of the fuel industry is strongly related to the condition of the economy and the restrictions introduced in its individual branches. The scales of both passenger and goods transport have recently become much smaller, which obviously has a negative impact on fuel sales. However, business diversification and partnerships are an opportunity for further development and a way out of this difficult situation unscathed. The safety of our customers is crucial to us, and that is why shopping in stores at our stations can be done every day, at any time, while the extended range of stores allows you to do everyday grocery shopping, purchase basic household chemicals or products for animals. For people who cannot or do not want to make purchases at stations in person, we offer delivery via the Bolt Foods application. Now you can order our hot dogs, zapiekankas and delicious coffee without leaving your home.

Investments.

Despite the challenges ahead, we are focusing on intensive network development, both by opening our own stations and cooperating with franchisees. The period of the pandemic has also accelerated the introduction of new technological solutions, such as the creation of a new concept of a car wash, as part of which, for the sake of comfort and safety, the customer can stay in the car while it is being washed, or the development on an application that we are just launching on the market, which enables mobile payments. We follow the needs of our customers, make their every day a little easier and shopping at our stations a safe and pleasant experience.

Author
Renata Timoščik

Director Market Development at Circle K Polska.

Has over 20 years of experience in managing the product category of retail chains, developing the convenience department and implementing marketing projects. She has been working for Circle K since 2009, initially as a Convenience Category Manager in Lithuania. At that time, she was responsible for the fuel offer and support for the implementation of the new store concept. Before joining the Polish team, she was the Marketing Director of Circle K on the Lithuanian market. She is a graduate of ISM University of Management and Economics in Vilnius. She holds the title of Master of Business Administration issued by Baltic Management Institute.

There are over 360 petrol stations across the country under the Circle K brand. The company is owned by the Canadian company Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.

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