Oil and gas don't mix either ~ Brand Mix

Monday, October 6, 2008

Oil and gas don't mix either

Are you someone who cares what kind of motor oil you put in your car? I'm not. All I look at is whether it's the right number "W" that it's supposed to be (and I have to check that each time). But it turns out that most people care more than that.

I was talking to someone a while back who knows more than I do about this. He told me that people generally hold motor oils that are not associated with retail gas station brands in much higher regard than the ones that are. So, Pennzoil is thought to be "better" than Exxon motor oil even though Pennzoil is owned by Shell (a fact scrupulously not shared on the Pennzoil website). Same goes for Havoline (owned by Chevron) and Castrol (owned by BP).

Turns out that motor oil is a good example of a category where focused brands do better than ones that are not--therefore, a very good example for me to tuck away in my imaginary folder called: "Before you go extending your brand all over the place, let's see if there's any risks that we should consider."

In this case, I think Pennzoil and the other motor oil-only brand benefit two ways: a) they win on perceived expertise because of their focus and b) retail gas brand oils lose because they can't escape looking like Private Label brands.

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