SWOT Analysis and Marketing Strategy Case Study of Indian Oil

Updated on: Oct 21, 2023
Marketing Strategy & SWOT Analysis of Indian Oil Corporation | IIDE

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Some brands have grown exponentially since their inception. indian oil is one of them. How did they manage it? What did they do to increase their customer base? What did they do to keep their consumers coming back? We think indian oil’s Marketing Strategy played a significant part in all this, especially its digital marketing strategy. This article analyses a few digital marketing strategies used by the company to give you an insight into what they have been doing.

About indian oil

IOCL is the biggest refining company in India and has a prominent presence in the refining and marketing sector. It has alone earned a place in the oil and gas industry with a net profit of $1,589 million for the financial year 2015-16.

Reputed surveys continue to rate IndianOil as one of the dominant energy brands in the global world. It’s the leading Indian company in Forbes ‘Global 500’. According to its listings, IOCL ranks at first position as Indian corporate and occupies the 161st position in the world for the year 2016.

IOCL is India’s Energy giant in terms of sales, along with its subsidiaries, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) and Bongaigaon Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (BRPL), it owns 10 out of the 18 refineries (43% of the refining capacity in India). IndianOil and its subsidiaries account for 45% of the petroleum products market share among public sector oil companies.

Now that we are discussing indian oil, let’s take a look at their marketing strategy too.


What’s new with indian oil?

Here’s what was buzzing around indian oil recently:

  1. OMCs may have scope to cut fuel rates, says petroleum minister Hardeep Puri
  2. IOC board approves raising capital of up to Rs 22,000 crore via rights issue
  3. Indian Oil to consider fundraise via rights issue on July 7
  4. Indian Oil Corporation’s market share climbs to 43% in FY 22-23
  5. IOC gets in-principle approval to set-up Paradip petrochemical complex at Rs 61,077 crore
  6. Indian Oil board approves formation of new subsidiary for green energy business.
  7. Indian Oil Q3 Result: Petchem segment losses widen even as profitability returns
  8. IOC signs MOU with Urban Tots to offer toys across India

Let’s now understand the target audience of Indian oil better with the help of a buyer persona.

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Buyer Persona of indian oil

A buyer persona generally refers to the detailed information of an ideal customer of a company. When it comes to indian oil, people from India use it the most. This buyer persona will help you understand the attributes of regular a indian oil user.

Buyer’s Persona


Rajesh Gupta




42 years




  • Convenient and easily accessible fuel stations for regular refuelling.
  • Assurance of quality fuel to ensure the optimal performance of their vehicles.
  • Transparent and competitive fuel pricing.
  • Safe and reliable LPG cylinders for cooking needs.

Interest & Hobbies

  • Convenience, reliable fuel quality, competitive pricing, eco-friendly options, and ease of access to fuel stations and LPG cylinders.

Pain Points

  • Long queues and waiting times at fuel stations.
  • Concerns about adulterated or low-quality fuel.
  • Fluctuating fuel prices affecting their budget.
  • Occasional shortage or delayed delivery of LPG cylinders.

Social Media Presence

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • Twitter


From the table above we can conclude that an ideal indian oil User uses is a discerning consumer seeking quality, reliability, and convenience in their energy needs.

Want to know about the current challenges of indian oil? Read a detailed SWOT Analysis of the brand before moving on with marketing strategies.


Indian oil Marketing Strategies


The way it operates is different to that of others because all the packaging activities have been outsourced to others through tenders helping Indian oil to concentrate on its operational activities. By doing this it is able to work efficiently.

1. Search Engine Optimisation

indian oil has put a lot of effort into SEO.

As per Ubersuggest data, it ranks in India for 2,494,988 keywords as of August 2023. Its organic traffic is 30,484,205 sessions per month. The stats are low compared to their SEO performance in February 2023. 

Here are some of their Search Engine Optimisation techniques :


indian oil gets backlinks from 12,486,689 unique domains. All this increases the Domain Authority of indian oil’s domain and helps it rank higher.


2. Social Media Marketing

indian oil is active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As of August 2023, it has 236k followers on Instagram, 2.6 million likes on Facebook and 425k followers on Twitter.

Let’s analyze how their posts are:

Almost all posts on Indian Oil’s social media channels are the same. 

They post alot of informational & educational content:


Product release posts:


3. Traditional marketing:

The company is heavy on TVCs for their brand promotion:


4. Promotion Strategy

IOCL is the most trusted and valued brand in India. It was ranked 243rd in Forbes Global 2000. It has a strong workforce including 34,659 employees. IOCL believes that a good promotional plan and periodic incentives will help in maintaining a customer base. To increase brand visibility it also has taken help from advertising like hoardings, TV ads etc. 

The company organized a loyalty program for large fleet operators called XTRAPOWER Fleet Card Program. Other loyalty programs are Rural Card, XTRAREWARDS, and Easy Fuel. 

Now that we thoroughly understand the company’s marketing mix, let’s finally look at its marketing strategy.


5. Strategic Alliances

IOCL has many strategic alliances under its bag. Recently it made a ratio of 50:50 alliances with the Gulf of Sudan and Iran for its out-of-country projects. This gives IOCL the opportunity to explore the market and increase its production and has made IOCL make a good synergy with its operations sector. It has made many strategic alliances with the local distributor in every city to ease the supply of its products to its customers. 

Recently in the year, 2009 IOCL made a strategic alliance with “Petro Algae ltd”. This was done by signing an MOU to license the agreement for supplying microchips technology for its future expansion to large-scale production in the field of renewable fuels. For its Indane product (LPG) it has made several alliances with the best companies to market its product throughout the country. Some of the other Strategic alliances by IOCL are as follows:

  • AVI-Oil India ltd: To make synthetic lubricating oil for aviation and defence purposes.
  • Indo Cat ltd: To manufacture additives.
  • Lubrizol India Pvt Ltd: To manufacture chemicals and market them for use as additives in Greases and diesel.
  • Petro net India Ltd: To implement petroleum projects through Special purpose vehicl


Marketing and Advertising Campaign Examples

Here are some of the unique and successful advertising campaigns of indian oil:

  • IndianOil SERVO 4T Xtra: A marketing masterclass in targeting the two-wheeler segment

IndianOil’s launch of SERVO 4T Xtra is a prime example of how to create a successful marketing campaign for a two-wheeler engine oil.

The product itself is designed to meet the specific needs of two-wheeler engines, with a focus on superior performance and protection. This is a key selling point for two-wheeler owners, who are often looking for an engine oil that can help them get the most out of their vehicles.

In addition to its superior performance, SERVO 4T Xtra is also priced competitively. This is a major advantage in the two-wheeler market, where price is often a key factor in purchasing decisions.

The marketing campaign for SERVO 4T Xtra is also well-designed. The campaign highlights the product’s benefits in a clear and concise manner, and it is targeted directly at two-wheeler owners.


  1. The launch of IndianOil XP100, India’s first 100 octane petrol, is a prime example of how to create a successful marketing campaign.

The ad is also well-supported by the product itself. XP100 is a high-quality fuel that offers a number of benefits over regular petrol. The fuel is designed to meet the needs of high-performance vehicles, and it is sure to deliver a superior driving experience.


In addition to the TVC, IndianOil has also launched a comprehensive marketing campaign for XP100. The campaign includes print, digital, and social media elements. The campaign is designed to generate awareness of the product and to drive trial.

The use of Amitabh Bachchan as a brand ambassador is also a clever move. Bachchan is one of the most popular and respected actors in India, and his association with the product is sure to give it a boost.

The marketing campaign for XP100 is a masterclass in how to create a successful product launch. The campaign is well-conceived and well-executed, and it is sure to be a success.

Key marketing takeaways from the XP100 campaign:

  • Create a strong brand identity: The XP100 brand is instantly recognizable, thanks to its distinctive logo and tagline. The brand identity is both aspirational and empowering, and it is sure to resonate with target consumers.
  • Focus on the product benefits: The XP100 TVC clearly articulates the benefits of the product. The ad is not just about the car, it is about the feeling that the car can deliver.
  • Generate awareness and drive trial: The XP100 marketing campaign is designed to generate awareness of the product and to drive trial. The campaign is sure to encourage owners of high-performance vehicles to try XP100.

The XP100 marketing campaign is a textbook example of how to create a successful product launch. The campaign is well-conceived and well-executed, and it is sure to be a success.


  1. IndianOil and PCI sign MoU in a strategic marketing move to promote para-sports

In a move that is sure to boost the visibility and participation in para-sports in India, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The MoU will see IOCL provide financial assistance to para-athletes for their training, participation in competitions, and procurement of equipment. The company will also support the PCI in its efforts to promote para-sports in India.

This is a significant marketing move by IOCL, as it will allow the company to associate itself with a growing and increasingly popular sport. Para-sports have been gaining traction in India in recent years, with the country’s para-athletes achieving success at major international events.

The association with para-sports will help IOCL to connect with a wider audience, particularly among the youth. Para-athletes are seen as role models for overcoming adversity and achieving success, and their stories are sure to resonate with many people.


In addition to the positive brand image that IOCL will gain from its association with para-sports, the company will also benefit from the marketing opportunities that the PCI can provide. The PCI has a strong network of contacts in the media and the sporting world, and it will be able to help IOCL to promote its brand through a variety of channels.

Overall, the MoU between IOCL and the PCI is a win-win for both parties. IOCL will gain valuable marketing exposure, while the PCI will receive much-needed financial support to help para-athletes achieve their full potential.


4. XtraPremium Petrol 

Two ads were launched for the XtraPremium Petrol. The ad was conceptualized by the Grey Group. 

The story unfolds in an IndianOil petrol pump, where the brand loyalist tries to explain to his cynical friend the feeling of driving with XTRAPREMIUM petrol. He takes his friend through a magical journey, to make him understand the feeling. He does this to make him realize that it’s not possible to explain the feeling, it needs to be experienced, which highlights the tagline, “jo delta hai wohi jaanta hai”. 


5. Unsung heroes

The Unsung Heroes campaign aims to inspire and fuel the nation with stories of countless, nameless and faceless heroes who have impacted the lives of others around them. 

IndianOil is not only the leading petroleum company, taking care of the energy needs of the nation, but also at its core is the philosophy of placing India first and then business, which translates appropriately in its tagline “Pehle Indian Phir Oil”. Passion and Care are also highlighted in the works of the unsung heroes. 

It can thus be seen that the company focuses on connecting with the consumers while also generating brand awareness. Let’s see how they achieve this aim via their digital presence now.


Failed Campaigns of indian oil 

indian oil more than often grabs attention with its unique marketing. But, there have been a few times when the campaign failed to connect with the audiences and gained backlash. 

Here are a few examples of failed campaigns of indian oil:

What was the issue?

Disruptions in Supply Chain: The pandemic disrupted global supply chains, leading to challenges in procuring crude oil and other raw materials. It affected the production and distribution of petroleum products, causing logistical issues.

What backlash did the brand face?

Volatile and uncertain economic conditions coupled with lockdown restrictions threw up unprecedented challenges.

What did the brand do in this situation?

Even during challenging times, when the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic caused severe disruptions to the supply chain across the globe, we, at IndianOil, continued to meet our operational goals. Our dedicated team of employees and channel partners ensured that there is no disruption in supply of energy – be it fuel at our Retail Outlets, LPG at home of our consumers or supply of fuel to various Industries. In fact, during the year we launched differentiated products like XP100 and XtraTej. The situation was closely monitored by the top management and necessary actions were taken from time to time. 


Top Competitors of indian oil 

Here’s the list of top competitors of indian oil:

  1.  Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)
  2. . Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)
  3.  Reliance Industries Limited (RIL):
  4.  Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)
  5.  Essar Oil Limited
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As we wrap up our analysis of indian oil’s impressive digital marketing strategy, it’s clear that staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques is key to success in the digital marketing world.

Whether you’re a marketing professional or just starting out, be sure to check out our free digital marketing masterclass to gain a solid foundation in the essentials of digital marketing.

Who knows, you might just develop the next big marketing strategy like indian oil’s! Don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments on indian oil’s strategy in the comments below.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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