Published on April 4, 2019, at 9:25 a.m.
by Whitney Blalock.
The adage “everything’s bigger in Texas” translates to its convenience stores, too. You may have heard Texans bragging about the larger-than-life chain of stores, Buc-ee’s, scattered throughout the state. That boasting, though, has contributed to the company’s success and drives almost all its business.
Buc-ee’s relies heavily on word-of-mouth communication to raise and spread awareness. The privately held company capitalizes on its almost cult-like following and steady brand loyalty. Consumers are quick to tell their friends and family about positive experiences, which Buc-ee’s is all about creating for visitors. Reviews have even noted that Buc-ee’s is less of a stop for gas and a snack and more of a necessary destination. Travelers truly go out of their way, deciding to “hold it a little longer” to stop at Buc-ee’s.
Not only does Buc-ee’s have the highest-rated gas station restrooms in the nation, but also the Katy, Texas, location holds the Guinness World Record for the longest car wash at 255 feet. Buc-ee’s has built a dynasty from simple and indispensable things, such as restrooms, car washes and gas. Did I mention flagship locations have more than 100 gas pumps?
Beyond the basic convenience store staples, Buc-ee’s has created an unmistakable brand. The mascot, Bucky the Beaver, is featured on T-shirts, cups, throw blankets, home decor, pajama pants, snack packaging, you name it. Billboards advertising exits for store locations have witty sayings and Bucky the Beaver displayed, emphasizing the brand. The smiling, buck-toothed beaver is a friendly and inviting welcome to both first-time and devoted customers.
With such a steadfast following in Texas, Buc-ee’s recently expanded to Baldwin County, Alabama, a handy stop for beach-bound roadtrippers. Buc-ee’s reputation precedes it, making the company’s new extension incredibly accepted. Slowly but surely, Buc-ee’s will become a household name across the nation – not just in Texas.
Most notably, Buc-ee’s does not have an in-house public relations department. Jeff Nadalo, general counsel and spokesperson of Buc-ee’s, handles all media relations and interactions with the public. With that being said, there are many takeaways PR practitioners can learn from Buc-ee’s success.
Find your niche.
Buc-ee’s has claimed the most pristine restrooms, widest selection of snacks and most gas pumps as its own. With the saturation of convenience stores, Buc-ee’s has found a way to stand out and own a corner of the market.
Develop your brand.
Bucky the Beaver has become synonymous with the name Buc-ee’s itself. Featured on almost all merchandise and packaging, Bucky has arguably become a symbol similar to McDonald’s and its golden arches. Just as those golden arches stir up french fry cravings, Bucky the Beaver represents a consistently clean and friendly stop on the road.
Create an experience.
Travelers don’t just stop at Buc-ee’s to fill up on gas and use the restroom; they make an effort to stop there to enjoy the experience. From the overwhelming number of stalls in the restrooms to the walls stocked with homemade Beaver Nuggets, chocolate-covered raisins and an assortment of beef jerky, customers are wowed with every turn. Positive experiences urge consumers to encourage their friends to check it out for themselves.
PR practitioners can take note of Buc-ee’s astounding success riding on word-of-mouth communication. Buc-ee’s has harnessed brand reputation and loyalty to set itself apart from the rest, dominating the convenience store market.