In Conversation with Phillips 66 Limited

In our April ‘branding and marketing’ print issue, we considered how companies in the sector have adapted and evolved their communication styles and branding in response to market developments, the energy transition and, more recently, Covid-19. Here, Mark Todd, wholesale business manager for Phillips 66 Limited, speaks in depth with content editor Stephanie Samuel about the brand position and values of Phillips 66 and JET and explains how, for them, with clear communication being more important than ever, consistency is key.
The supplier of choice

Mark Todd, wholesale business manager, Phillips 66 Limited

Commenting on the brand positioning statement for Phillips 66, ‘Providing energy. Improving lives’, Mark explained:
“We are excited about the future of energy, and we are hard at work on advanced engineering, sustainable technologies and future innovations that will allow us to continue to responsibly provide energy in ways that improve lives.
“We believe that customers recognise and appreciate our traditional values. Phillips 66’s core values are safety, honour and commitment, and we stand by our word – you can count on us to do the right thing, always.
“We strive to be the supplier of choice for our customers. We really value our customer relationships and we build relationships for the long-term, with an honest and open approach. We know our customers value great service and commitment, so that is what we aim to achieve.”
The future of energy
With the energy transition picking up pace, Mark shared the importance of sustainability being part of the company’s customer-facing branding:
“Our customers have always been interested in our supply chains, and sustainability is very important to them too. In general, there is more interest in this space.
“There are a number of initiatives in place that represent a commitment to our future, and our communications support and communicate this.
“Phillips 66 Limited is a key player in the energy sector, supplying high quality fuels in the UK for over 50 years. Our Humber Refinery is fuelling the future and is one of the lowest emitting and energy efficient refineries in Europe.”
A refined role in decarbonising the UK
Going into further detail about how Phillips 66 is playing an instrumental role in several projects and partnerships which support decarbonisation and the UK Government’s 2059 net zero ambitions, Mark continued:
“Our Humber Refinery presents a unique opportunity for Phillips 66 to play a leading role, not least in the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing chain. Humber Refinery is the only European facility capable of manufacturing premium grade graphite petroleum coke which forms a critical component of batteries in EVs and consumer electronics. Our unique role has been acknowledged by the Advanced Propulsion Centre as a core building block on the road to establishing a UK-based EV battery manufacturing capability. Premium grade graphite petroleum coke is produced through a special process called calcining and form a key part of high technology supply chains, including batteries in EVs.
“Humber Refinery was also the first UK refinery to make renewable fuel from waste oil and we remain at the forefront of research and development into next-generation, cleaner fuels. In 2020, the latest investment in its growing renewable fuels infrastructure came in the form of a massive processing unit that will convert used cooking oil (UCO) into low-carbon fuel. The decarbonisation benefit of using waste oil is significant; compared to conventional fuels, UCO offers a greenhouse gas reduction of around 90%.
“In addition, Phillips 66 Limited is advancing a project that uses renewable hydrogen to produce fuels at our Humber Refinery. The project, called Gigastack, aims to harness offshore wind to power electrolysis and produce hydrogen, a low-emission fuel capable of powering transportation and heavy industry, as well as multiple processes within refining. This project has the potential to help to reduce the emissions associated with producing fuels for road vehicles as well as ships and airplanes.
“Gigastack is a collaboration between Phillips 66 Limited, Danish wind farm developer and operator Ørsted, hydrogen systems developer ITM Power, and ElementEnergy. This project is backed by £7.5m funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to support the UK’s 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emission target.”
 JET’s brand mission
Striving to succeed does not stop at Phillips 66, however. Mark tells us more about the brand statement for JET:
“JET’s brand mission is to champion the interests of UK drivers. This is achieved through living our brand values every day; Human – we are all about people, we’re genuine, positive and always available to help; Focused – giving drivers the essentials they need to help them on their way with minimum fuss; Reliable – we have over 50 years’ experience as a UK refiner, providing a consistent, reliable service that can be trusted.”
When asked about the feedback received from JET approved partners, Mark continued:
“We have had very positive feedback from our distributers who are ‘JET Approved Partners’. Customer surveys are completed in order to help us improve service, build relationships and ensure that everyone is happy with our communications and availability. We have had feedback that our ‘JET Approved Partners’ recognise that relationships are a strength of Phillips 66, in fact, some of those taking the survey have been customers for 50 years, which highlights this strength. Our customers have high expectations of Phillips 66 and we work hard to measure up to those expectations.
“’JET Approved Partners’ are regularly invited to engage with us as a group – such as a recent visit to our Humber Refinery. We share industry knowledge with them and introduce key members of the Phillips 66 team who can share their expertise – such as our product quality specialist.”
Keeping up with communications  
“Our distributors will most often see our customer facing teams, account management and sales support, but we do also have an internal informative portal called ‘My Phillips 66’, which is used for all account information.
“We send a quarterly digital newsletter to customers which includes details about the Phillips 66 & JET brands as well as projects we are working on. Externally we participate in advertising and PR in B2B titles and aim to produce comms that stand out and ‘demand’ to be seen. A good example is a print campaign we ran last year that features striking, atmospheric photography of the Humber Refinery. Beautiful in its simplicity, they have real impact, delivering important messages around ‘Fuelling the Future’ in a format that it is both memorable and engaging.
“We also exhibit at the UKIFDA Expo annually, we find this is a great opportunity to speak with customers and present any developments in our brand and communications to them. We are currently relaunching our UK website which includes all up to date information about the Phillips 66 brand. Plus, we hold a biennial customer conference which is a vital opportunity to meet with our customers and provide them with an overview of new initiatives.”
Consistency is key
Looking ahead, Mark commented on the importance of maintaining strong lines of communication, and relationships, as the industry continues to evolve:
“We find that consistency is key – meeting our ‘commitments’ if you like – and the value of excellent customer relationships has been a key part of Phillips 66 Limited’s success in the UK and will continue to be critical in the future.”
We look forward to catching up further with Phillips 66 at the UKIFDA EXPO, for which the company is this year’s headline sponsor, and to reporting all their latest news in our pages and here, on