This week 222 bp dealers and retailers from across Australia and New Zealand met in Dubai for the bp DARC 2024 conference.  Under the theme of; Transformation Realised an impressive line up of experts, partners and suppliers combined to deliver a conference whose focus was on arming bp dealers and retailers with business knowledge and tools to help them protect and grow their businesses today and be ready for the business of tomorrow.

Set in the city that arguably embodies the concept of ‘Transformation”, Dubai was a shining backdrop to the Welcome Function where then treated to sunset over the water and some serious networking at the Dare Iced Coffee Dinner presented by Bega Cheese Limited and the fun continued at the afterDARC after party presented by Red Bull

 

The conference portion of event opened with MC and Event Facilitator Nick Cain‘s visceral and entertaining reminder that we get more out of experiences when we stand up, lean in and fearlessly use our voices, and this is never more true than at a conference.

Tanya Ghosn (Vice President Fleet, Dealer, Electrification & Payments ANZ at bp),  opened the conference with a commitment to continue to build respectful and successful relationships that involve real and open communication, learnings and innovation, within the “frame” of respecting the past while building a resilient future.

To the bp Dealers, Transformation Realised means;

  • Action – investment in todays energy system AND in transition to new energy opportunities
  • Empowerment – digital transformation of processes, operations, products and offers across all areas
  • Vision – partners are at the heart of past, current and future success

Tanya was joined by Wei Chi Wong (Vice President Midstream and B2B ASPAC at bp), to explore the pragmatic steps and programs that bp is taking now to achieve the ambitious goals of ‘Transformation Realised’.

Frédéric Baudry (President, bp Australia and SVP fuels & low carbon solutions, Asia Pacific), took delegates through a detailed update of the strategic approach of bp globally and the ANZ region specifically and the vital role that Dealers play to its future success.

The key message was “AND…not OR”.  That bp will continue to invest in traditional core business AND the new growth engines and future energy solutions, so that as a business, as an integrated ‘energy’ company, can support the industrial, retail and personal transition towards net zero.

After a quick break to grab a snack, catch up with colleagues and to explore the Digital Supplier Expo it was back into the learning and sharing.

Shane Langford (Senior Dealer Manager ANZ at bp) led delegates through the progress and pressures since last DARC and set the stage for a practical distributor update from Kade Pargeter (Dealer & Truckstop AU at bp).

Wei Chi Wong (Vice President Midstream and B2B ASPAC at bp) then returned to the stage to take delegates behind the curtain on Midstream operations and its impact on the distributor retailers.

 

After lunch Corrie Nicholson (Senior Manager Fleet ANZ at bp) provided delegates with the latest on the current and future path for Fleet and EV, before calling on Tanya Ghosn to join her for a Reconciliation Action Plan update and present the First Nation Community Engagement Award to Recharge Petroleum for their outstanding commitment to and engagement with the local first nations community.

Wrapping up the conference session for the day Lisa Archbold (Vice President Business Development & Low Carbon Solutions at bp), provided delegates with a detailed presentation on the Future Energy landscape and bp strategy of AND in delivering a Net Zero future.

While the official conference element was done for the day the networking and learning continued at the  Mondelēz International Dinner in the Desert, where delegates got away from the bright lights of the city and got an opportunity to experience the rare beauty of the Desert at sunset.  The fun continued at the afterDARC after party presented by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

 

 

 

As the second day of conferencing opened, delegates were treated to an entertaining and insightful walk through the past, present and future of customer intimacy and engagement in retail by the psychology and retail experience legend Ken Hughes who put the ‘blue dot’ reality into the context of mobility and convenience retails where customers demand an omnichanel, completely instant and frictionless experience.

The takeaway was that every generation is GenerationMe.  That every person feels that they are fundamentally ‘special’ and anytime they are treated as less than an absolute ‘rockstar’ they are treated like ‘nothing’, on a psychological level there is no middle ground, Rockstar or NPC.  Meeting expectations is the new failure.  If you want your customers to stay and return, you must Excite and Delight.  If you want life long loyalty from your customers you need to build a real relationship, where they are the centre of your universe…and you make them feel and believe that reality.

Amanda Woollard (Marketing Mobility & Convenience AsPac at bp)  led delegates through the important role of innovation in the consumer space across all touchpoints and particularly the goal of fully frictionless interactions in convenience in a Digital and Marketing update before being joined by Vicki Miller (Director Innovation and Engineering ANZ for bp) and Tanya Ghosn for a full and frank Q&A on how the digital focus will impact, drive and lift engagement with Dealers.

Shane Langford then presented the Play to Win Award to Jasbe Petroleum for their multifaceted approach to success and customer satisfaction and the Live Our Purpose Award to Bowser Bean Cafe.

After a quick break to explore the Digital Supplier Expo Jamin Piggot (Business Manager – Independent Retail at bp) and Amy Phan (Dealer Account Lead) came together to deliver a practical safety review and update.

The Paul Auge (Vice President Mobility & Convenience at bp) built on the insights Amanda Woollard delivered to dive deep into the current and future retail strategy for bp as a whole, and how this strategy will translate into support for the Dealers in the coming year.

Wrapping up the conference session was Joti Prasad delivered a Castrol update before the delegates broke off into practical workshop sessions on compliance, employment, distribution, retail and buying group.

After a second full on day of conference and workshop sessions the networking and learning continued at the V Refresh Dinner presented by Suntory Oceania  , where delegates got a birds eye view of the famous Palm.

 

 

Day three saw delegates explore Dubai and particularly the strategic and practical considerations of rapid structured transformation.

Learning and exploring done it was time for the bp DARC 2024 delegates to get to the serious business of recognition and relaxation at the sparkling Asahi Beverages Gala Dinner and Awards Night at the base of the worlds tallest building, the Burj Khalifa


Great food and great company was accompanied with recognition.

 

 

 

 

 

Awards done the only thing left to do was announce the location for DARC 2025…and the winner is Bali!
Delegates left the event energised, informed and refreshed to get back to their businesses for another year.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)
ACAPMA

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