Neste Easy Deli: How adding a new touchpoint in brand communications disrupts the customer journey in unmanned filling stations
Reading time: 6 minutes
Even Neste, a heritage Finnish brand and market-leading petrochemical corporation, sees disruption on the horizon. The countryside of Finland is peppered with unmanned filling stations providing the bare minimum of convenience for consumers. A pin-pad, a couple of pumps, and a canopy overhead are the most you can expect. As physical touch points go on the customer journey, these need to be improved to cater to the needs of drivers – today and tomorrow.
So, how does a well-established brand like Neste re-engineer a commuter’s customer journey, ensuring both the physical – and the digital – touchpoints continue to deliver value while reacting and adapting to a changing world? The idea of Easy Deli is born.
Easy Deli Facts
Client: Neste Markkinointi Oy
San Francisco Design Team: Oona Colliander + Bay Area network partners (freelancers), Jutta Menestrina, Sisse Collander, and Camilo Hidalgo
Construction and materials: Markku Heinonen (Tammiston Puu)
Planning permissions: Timo Vienamo (MK2)
Location: Kirkkotie 2, Vantaa
Building year: 2018
Scalable service – individual connection
The brief received from Neste operated on multiple levels. The guiding concept for this project was to find out if it was possible to create a space that feels welcoming for customers – even in the absence of friendly personnel. The key Neste brand values of safety and sustainability were chosen as guiding principles for all design work.
The initial location for the space was to be on Kirkkotie in Siltamäki, Helsinki. However, the aim was to deploy the space in multiple locations in the future, meaning all of the above had to be housed within a footprint that easily fitted onto the back of a flatbed truck and met road transportation regulations. Finally, the space had to meet all safety, accessibility and hygiene requirements pertinent to customer service environments.
Reflecting Neste brand values
With this brief, we quickly came to realize a space designed to fit into the local environment – that had to also work in multiple locations – had to draw from natural thematic elements that can be found wherever unmanned filling stations are located. In an ideal world, blue skies and lush vegetation would make Neste’s primary color palette of vivid greens and blues an obvious choice for branding and design. Weather, however, is rarely that reliable!
We instead focused on two key environmental elements: the wind, and the cars that pass by. The wind is constant, it exists everywhere. Unmanned filling stations are also invariably located near main thoroughfares, so a stream of red and white lights is always close at hand. From these two elements, the idea of a kinetic installation was born – something unique and surprising that connected the car lights and the wind.
Bringing the outdoors inside
In terms of safety, comfort, and warmth, traditional petrol station interiors tend to fail. Early on in the design process good customer experience was prioritized, the importance of a space that didn’t feel industrial, cold, and claustrophobic was underlined. Easy Deli had to feel safe to enter, particularly when unmanned, so customers will feel welcome and at ease.
The full-length window that spans the length of Easy Deli gives customers a panoramic view of the outer courtyard and the inner door at the same time, negating feelings of unease and isolation that come from limited lines of sight. In addition, the vending machines inside Easy Deli are staggered, ensuring customers have a view of the main window and outside courtyard at all times.
Wood is also a warm material. Its smell, its tactile and acoustic properties evoke a calm, organic space, bringing elements of nature inside and creating a welcoming atmosphere – even when operating industrial vending machines. Finally, we chose soft, natural lighting to bring further warmth to the space, keeping clear of the harsh artificial lighting common to petrol station interiors across the world.
The journey so far…
This first Easy Deli prototype is designed to disrupt the traditional behavior of motorists using unmanned filling stations. A blend of service design, lean methodology, and agile development was used throughout the project’s development, and the true test will start when Neste listens to the customers, gathers feedback, and further develops this concept.
Key PR figures on the pilot station of Siltamäki
Articles: 20+ articles in Finnish media
The media that covered the story includes Iltalehti, Helsingin Sanomat, Tekniikka&Talous, and Moottori to name a few.
Estimated coverage views: 796K
Social shares: 943 social shares after a week
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