A product launch fuelled by customer needs and teamwork

Customer demand for diesel fuel is growing. That’s why Viva Energy, the exclusive licensee of Shell products in Australia, resolved to bring a new premium diesel fuel to the Australian market. The launch of Shell V-Power Diesel involved virtually all parts of the business, co-operating as a team to deliver a great product for our customers.

Shell V-Power Diesel is an innovation in diesel fuel technology designed to improve engine performance. It contains a special additive that helps clean diesel engines by removing deposits that can build up over time, so the engine will operate at its optimal best and be most efficient in providing fuel economy and power.

These benefits are important to customers such as tradespeople who rely on their vehicles for work, or owners of luxury diesel vehicles, as well as those who just want the best fuel for their car. With the growth in sales of diesel vehicles and demand for diesel fuel increasing, it was vital that Viva Energy got everything right with the launch of Shell V-Power Diesel.

A product launch fuelled by customer needs and teamwork

Driven by customers

The task of ‘getting everything right’ fell to Gisella Spedicato, our Retail Fuels Brand and Product Marketing Lead. As a starting point, Gisella undertook research and conducted focus groups to seek feedback and better understand the needs of our customers.

“Going over the research data revealed a key insight,” Gisella explains. “We found that many drivers of diesel cars were filling up with premium diesel without even knowing it, because at many of our competitor sites standard diesel had simply been replaced by premium diesel at the pump.”

This insight helped frame our point of difference. “We realised that for customers to make an informed decision, it was important to tell them more about premium diesel. So we decided – and it still holds true today – to talk to our customers about the benefits of premium diesel and why it’s better for their car, and to ensure we offered them a choice at the pump of both regular and premium diesel.”

Building the team

Gisella then built the team that would ultimately deliver the product to our customers, which needed to cover everything from developing and testing the product to selecting the service stations where we would offer the product, developing the communications material, and undertaking the necessary site work so customers could access the product. Altogether, more than thirty people from across the business were involved.

Everyone in the team had a vital role to play. “Retail Operations looked at our network of service stations to decide which sites had the infrastructure that would allow us to offer Shell V-Power Diesel. Supply and Logistics worked with carriers to determine how we were going to deliver the product to the service stations. The Shell Card team had to be involved so they could inform their customers with fleets that there was a new, premium diesel fuel available.”

As the project lead, Gisella knew how important it was that everyone involved felt empowered and took ownership of their specific roles. “I know this is a bit of a cliché, but we really did work collaboratively, because we wanted to own the outcome. And the results were amazing.”

Sue Smith, our Fuels Product Quality Excellence Lead, confirms the team’s passion for the project: “I loved working with people to deliver a great end result for our customers, thinking about what other people were doing and what information they needed to make it all happen. It was really exciting.”

Delivering product quality

Suitability of the product in market was critical, to make sure the fuel performed as expected and that it met Australian fuel quality standards and specifications. This responsibility fell to Sue and the Product Quality team.

“Shell V-Power Diesel is part of Shell’s global stable of products,” explains Sue. “We had to ensure that when we added the Shell V-Power Diesel additive to our local diesel it wouldn’t result in any issues for customers’ cars in the Australian market.”

With the product testing complete, Shell V-Power Diesel was introduced into a small number of service stations that were carefully selected based on their high sales of diesel fuel and the service station’s capacity to offer choice to consumers at the pump.

Another factor with site selection was the volume of Shell V-Power 98 sold. As Gisella explains, “According to Australian Petroleum Statistics, the premium fuel category which includes fuels like Shell V-Power 98, make up about a third of all fuel purchases. If a particular service station sells more than the average amount of premium fuels, that’s an indication that customers in that area already have an appreciation of premium fuels that may translate to a premium diesel product, such as Shell V-Power Diesel.”

Driving forward

It took six months of work before the first Shell V-Power Diesel pump appeared at a service station, but the launch was a success. From an initial trial of eight service stations, Shell V-Power Diesel is now available at 85 locations with the potential to roll out to more than 250 retail sites over the next two years, as part of a strategic national plan.

Feedback from service station managers has been overwhelmingly positive, telling us that customers who try Shell V-Power Diesel love it. “Ultimately, it was our focus on meeting the needs of our customers that determined the success of the project,” says Gisella. “We believed that it was important for customers to be informed and be able to make a choice, and that has led to the positive results we’ve seen so far.”

For Gisella and the wider Viva Energy team it was a challenging and an extremely exciting project to work on. “It isn’t every day you get to launch a new fuel product. Despite the complexity of the project, I’m proud that it was delivered safely and on time. I drive into my local service station and I say to myself, we did this. We brought Shell V-Power Diesel to Australia. Even my kids get excited!”

Sue is equally as enthusiastic about the achievement. “I love bringing things together to make them all work and happen on the day. It’s an important new product for us, and the sense of teamwork we experienced during the launch was absolutely wonderful.”

Launching a new premium diesel fuel was a massive undertaking. But the outcome has been really positive thanks to the knowledge and experience of multiple teams within Viva Energy working together to bring Shell V-Power Diesel to the Australian market.

Learn more about Shell V-Power Diesel and our range of high quality fuels.

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