Avis

Healthcare Marketing: Should “We Try Harder”, Keep Tagline Longer?

Another tagline bites the dust!

Avis drops it’s branding line “We Try Harder” …after 50 years.

Avis Car Rental has recently announced they are dropping their iconic brand positioning line, “We Try Harder,” and replacing it with “It’s Your Space.”  Whether that’s a smart move will be determined but from an outsider looking in, I might have to question the move.

“We Try Harder” was introduced in 1962 by Avis with the help of DDB and became the brand’s promise about the quality of its service and as a way to position itself against the category leader Hertz. It was a huge success for Avis. In a matter of a single year, that campaign reversed the company’s fortunes, helping it to go from losing $3.2 million to turning a profit of $1.2 million for the first time in 13 years. It worked!  And it identified a brand.

Now it is being replaced with “It’s Your Space.”  One has to ask, what promise does that line really deliver?  The firm is repositioning itself to appeal to business travelers who spend a lot time in rental cars and trying to communicate that time inside a rental car is where business travelers can recharge or be the most productive time while traveling.  Maybe it will work but it seems a stretch to me.

Maybe it was time to abandon the old line since Avis had fallen from the number two car rental company to number three behind Enterprise Holdings (Alamo, Enterprise, National) and Hertz.  Maybe the company had stopped trying harder.  Or maybe they indeed do need to reposition itself for business rather than leisure travelers and this was to way to do it.  But you sure hate to see a classic, effective and company-defining line disappear.

For hospital marketers, branding lines come and go.  And I would be one of the first to say they need to be periodically updated and changed as the brand and the market landscape changes.  But it should be a strategic move based on sound research and not just on a whim.  Internally we may get tired of a branding line but it is often long before it becomes ineffective with the consumer.  And with a line like the one used by Avis to brand, position and define the company and which is firmly implanted in consumers’ minds, marketers need to be very cautious before making a change.

There are some very solid reasons a branding line should be changed from time to time but we must be sure it’s a strategic reason and not just because we are tired of the old one.  If the one we are currently using was strategically developed and implemented and it was effective, about the only reason to change is because the brand, the market or the competitive landscape has changed.  We must be very sure there are strong reasons to give up the brand equity that has been developed with the current line to start over with a new one.

Again, I’m not against changing lines but only after research and deliberate consideration.  And as hospital marketers, we must be sure the new brand positioning line is better and stronger and connects better with our audiences.  For Avis, I’m not sure “It’s Your Space” does that.  I just wished they had tried harder.

 

Healthcare Marketing: Have We Lost Our Marketing Way?

Today’s emphasis on social media, analytics and ROI has taken the place of the “Big Idea.”  And brands are weaker because of it.

When you scan the topics of marketing conventions, examined the titles of webinars that are available everyday and study what marketing subjects are most tweeted, you will find the marketing landscape is covered and dominated by new processes and platforms.   All the talk is about social media, digital platforms, analytics, market segmentation and targeting, lead generation and tracking and ROI.   Where is the discussion about  “big ideas”?  About creativity?  About speaking uniquely to the consumers’ hearts and minds?

Now all of these things are important and create exciting opportunities.  But none of them really matter absent the right, break-through idea.   Where is today’s equivalent of Volkswagen’s “Think Small”, DeBeers’ “Diamonds Are Forever”, “The Absolut Bottle” or Avis’ “We Try Harder?”   Oh there are currently some great campaigns but it seems we have too often substituted creativity for things we can compute and measure.

Brands benefit from savvy marketing tactics and superior media planning but great brands are built with great ideas.  Sure there are some new powerful media platforms but they cannot make a bad idea good.  Or a build a great brand from mediocre concepts. All the best new communication platforms and the analytics that go with them can’t capture the heart and soul of a brand.  Or the critical position in the consumers’ minds.

Maybe our first question should be “what” and not “how”.  An architect conceives a great structure before deciding the tools and materials to use.  An artist has an idea for a subject before deciding on the techniques and colors. And a composer hears a grand symphony in his mind before deciding the instruments to use.   And as marketers, we should have a great concept, a big idea, before deciding where to place it.

New tactics and processes can make us more efficient but great brands they do not make.  Great brands come from breakthrough ideasMarketing should be less about analytics and more about inspiration. Less about measured results and more about creativity.   After all, great brands are created and transformed by big ideas.

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