NRL petrol pumps: distinct design gives them a star image

NRL is a new entrant in the petrol pump retail market. It had an enormous task of conceptualising their corporate identity from scratch. They had the advantage of designing the entire pump, as they were in possession of barren land. The resultant was a ‘Space station,’ which did not even remotely resemble any other existing pump all over the world.

The privatisation of petrol pumps saw a number of new entrants in this industry and Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) was one of them. Basically, NRL is one of the finest and fast upcoming refineries in India and is popularly known as “Assam Accord Refinery”. The refinery is designed to process 3MMTPA of indigenous crude oil by adopting the state-of-the-art technology. Its products and services are varied, which includes naphtha, motor spirit and aviation turbine fuel, superior kerosene oil, high-speed diesel, ultra low sulphur, fuel oil, raw petroleum coke and sulphur. And, BPCL owns 63 per cent stake in NRL.

The company has developed a new concept to create a ‘retail visual identity’ for the NRL petrol stations. Since NRL was a new player in petroleum retail, they wanted the entire design process to stand-out and establish NRL as a strong brand. According to SK Jain, manager-engg, BPCL, “In the realm of petro-retailing, launching a small little-known refining company from a remote up-country location to the mainstream of marketing amongst existing giants like IOCL, BPCL, HPCL, IBP, Reliance, Essar, Shell, ONGC, etc, was a new and big challenge altogether. The in-road challenge was mainly to capture the mindshare and create high recall branding of NRL in the minds of the customer. The composite marketing strategy of NRL was to project it as dynamic and sensitive to changing user expectations.” All facilities are planned for customers’ needs, and a lot of design and engineering thinking has been put in; with facilities like bay status indicators, parallel displays, CCTVs; to maximise customer delight. All facilities available within the retail outlet have been prefixed with “Quick”, which denotes prompt and efficient service.

It was perfectly designed by Incubis Consultants, New Delhi. The retail outlets are called ‘Energy Stations’ so as to connote a future-looking organisation that promises to deliver future fuels, future energy needs, and, partners with customers well into the future.

“The roof is yellow curved rather than flat, a similar pump feature all over the country. Above on the roof are NRL blue horns which are a distinct feature visible from a great distance to attract attention,” told Sabyasachi Paldas, vice president of Incubis Consultants.

“Another new concept is of having the under deck of the roof cladded with aluminium composite panel, down curve in the centre, rather than the standard metal sheet false ceiling, giving it a very soft and smooth look. The spreading rising columns and the red wings supporting the roof add the final character to the whole look. Signages including monolith, entry, exit, air, water, etc have been so created that they blend together giving a wholeness to the entire pump,” he added.

Their logo was designed by Satchi & Satchi advertising agency. The NRL logo is based on the theme “Energy in motion”. It takes inspiration from the sun – the universal source of energy. The speeding sun with a blazing trail of light represents energy in motion. The yellow in the logo signifies the sun, the source of unlimited energy. The red is the blazing trail of the moving sun, representing ‘energy in motion’. The white logotype of NRL stands for purity of vision against a backdrop of the deep blue sky. All signages, including direction signs, facility signs etc have NRL blue background and type in a combination of yellow, red and white. “The logo is lit at night in such a way giving an effect of floating in mid air,” told Paldas. The canopy also shows the brand colours and are designed to enhance the architecture, reduce cost of illumination and work as a billboard as well. The monoliths are designed in blue, red and silver, providing a soothing effect.
“The canopy structure is clad with aluminium composite panels of Alucobond make in four colours (Lemon 201, Red 200, NRL Blue, Sunshine Silver metallic 600). The fascia signage is backlit using thermoformed PET-G panels. Red arrows on the front face of the columns are Retro reflective vinyls, 3M Red 2272. The combination of these colours is really awesome!” added Paldas.

For higher recall value, the canopies were made visible and noticeable giving a bright and cheerful look. The aero-foil shaped horned canopy with an aesthetically curved inner structure, tapered columns, monolith and other signages create an inviting atmosphere. Imported world class luminaires with up-lighters and down-lighters provide highest colour rendering index for customers to appreciate the creativity, beauty and also provide adequate visibility at the fuelling bay.

“The under-canopy is lit in a manner enhancing its architectural feature – providing customers with a different experience as they fuel up. The office block is designed to be located at two positions. One is positioned to act as a backdrop to the under-canopy filling operations, at the rear of the canopy. Since the front has extensive glazing, the office illumination spills out at night – providing an enhanced glow. The other is at the right of the canopy, aligned to either the second or the first row of canopy columns, depending on available space and local bye laws,” told Paldas.

Attracting diverse customers and experiencing them of a quick and pleasurable fuelling, optimal utilisation of time, high quality service and to create awareness on quality, quantity and safety, several value-added unique sales proposals (USPs) were also used. These included a “parallel display unit” where the vehicle operator can observe the fuel dispensing at his front through TV screens along with enlarged LED displayed parallel indication of fuelling quantity and rates.  This also is an entertainment source for co-passengers with revenue earning resource through advertisements.

Customers at NRL petrol station can also see the safety, quality and quantity awareness promotion on scrollers. Other elements include transparent shelves for displaying co-branded products, automatic bill print out facility, etc.

And,  NRL is not advertised as a brand but the composite plan, having a star image at the energy station, advertises itself to lure motorists. In a  nutshell, NRL is here with new/innovative concepts in the fuel-retailing segment with interesting value-added services for the consumers, resulting into revenue earning resource through new avenues of advertising.

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