What will become one of the country’s most visible Kiwi brands is now in business, with the first Z service station opened in Greenlane, Auckland this morning by the MP for Maungakiekie, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.
The decision to replace the Shell logo with a new brand that reflects the local ownership of the business was developed following one of the largest pieces of customer research into what Kiwi consumers want in a locally owned service station.
“Today, a year after Infratil and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund invested $700 million in buying the Shell business, we can now offer our customers a new retail offer under a brand that is all about New Zealand,” said Z CEO Mike Bennetts.
Mike said the most immediate and visible change will be one of the largest rebranding exercises in recent New Zealand history, but changing the colours and the brand is only a part of the story.
“The Z brand will provide a visual point of difference and our customers will know they’re supporting a Kiwi company when they shop with us. More importantly, our new look stores will provide customers with a completely overhauled and significantly improved offer,” Mike said.
With the Z brand we have redesigned our stores and our offer around what people told us they want - we have made a commitment to forecourt service and we will be offering café quality food and coffee.
So what will the first Z customers see and experience?
“People told us that they want to get in, get world-class fuel, good coffee and fresh café- quality food and be on their way quickly. They want dedicated forecourt service to be there for people that want it and they want clean, modern restrooms.
“We’ll deliver all of these things under the Z brand and we’re going to support New Zealand businesses along the way – for example our new pies are produced in the Hawke’s Bay, and our cupcakes are made by Laurel Watson in Auckland.”
Mike said that, perhaps above all else, customers wanted Z to contribute to the New Zealand economy and to things that matter in our local communities.
“So, while the profits from the Z business will be kept in New Zealand and go towards meeting the costs of superannuation, we will also be investing directly in the things that matter locally,” he said.
“With every Z site that we open, we will be donating $5,000 to community organisations, with customers able to vote for four local community organisations. For the Greenlane site, this $5,000 will be allocated, according to customer votes between The Hearing House, the Ranfurly Care Society, the Laura Fergusson Trust, and Plunket Ellerslie.
Across 220 retail sites, this represents an initial investment in community-based groups and activities of more than $1 million.
“Today is a milestone in the unveiling of the new Z brand, but a brand and a logo is the tip of an iceberg. We want Z to be a world-class Kiwi company and we want to be judged upon what we deliver and how we go about it.
“We reckon customers deserve better than what they’ve had up until now, customers deserve a truly local option and we reckon New Zealand is ready for a change,” said Mike.
The other Z pilot stations are: Skyway and Takanini, Auckland; Shirley and Linwood, Christchurch; Waiouru; Harbour City and Mana, Wellington; Turangi; and Putaruru.