In an Oligopoly Market the small number of players have to compete on everything but price. Back in the eighties and early nineties Esso led the way. They gave out vouchers for buying your fuel there and you could save these all up to buy just about anything you wanted from an Argos style catalogue. My parents went nowhere else so that my Mum could get the 250 vouchers required to get the food processor. This would have taken two years but ended up being 2.5 years as my brothers and I would pilfer 6 vouchers here and there to trade in for a JVC 180 minute Blank VHS tape.

I went to an Esso last week for the first time in ages and only because I had a flat tyre - what looked even flatter (sorry about that one) was the state of the Esso logo, location and shop. They were all dated, tired and lacked any sign of vibrancy, all things which are a must in an oligopoly market. (They do not even offer the vouchers.)

Just up the road is a BP - a brilliant location, a fresh, modern logo, spotless forecourt, reward points through your Nectar card and a Marks and Spencers to buy your dinner from. A brilliant experience and brings me back every time. A perfect example of a Brand in an oligopoly.

Now Esso go and sponsor McClaren F1 and get their logo on the car. Admittedly the logo looks a lot cleaner and modern on the car but unfortunately for them a logo is NOT a brand. A brand is what your customers/potential customers think of you and how they enjoy using your product. This is pretty lazy marketing by the Esso/Exon marketing team and I would guess done absolutely nothing to get more people to their pumps. I am sure it cost them a small fortune which could have been invested in a revamped logo, cleaning products for the forecourt or even a batch of VHS tapes to give away to every visiting customer.