How Avis made the best of — not being the best

 We all want to be known as the first, best, or biggest — don’t we? If someone has already been labeled that before us, what do we do? We work hard, in trying to overtake them.

Well not Avis. Instead, Avis searched for a silver lining in the cloud they found themselves in.

Avis admitted that Hertz was the first car rental company in the world, and consumers were aware of that too. This positioned Hertz as a market leader in the minds of those that matters the most, consumers.

Your typical competitor would have not hesitated but spend all their marketing efforts on trying to overtake Hertz to take their number one spot in the minds of consumers.

Avis instead decided to look for a reason to appear better than Hertz without looking ‘bigger’ than them. Avis decided to publicly acknowledge Hertz as number one and proclaim that their company was second. This was not an easy task as publicly referring to themselves as No.2 could lead to consumers thinking their service is second-best.
Avis then explored opportunities and competitive advantages of being second best, which led to their famous slogan: “we try harder.”

Their slogan is effective because it’s simple, meaningful, memorable.

Avis promised to please even more than the leader, Hertz. And people responded positively to Avis’s sincere desire to please.

Take a look at the execution of Avis’s brand positioning strategy below:

Their initial ad campaign had what most called the most famous last line in advertising history:
“The line at our counters is shorter.”

I really enjoyed reading about Avis and how it positioned themselves — and It would have been ‘greedy’ of me not to share this with you, especially those who weren’t familiar with Avis’ brand positioning strategy.

The power is in their simplicity, I doubt there’s any “comeback” that Hertz can do that will stick in the minds of consumers like Avis’s brand positioning.

This is brilliant!