Why does some advertising easily fit and resonate for the brand while so much does not?
One answer is that the advertising is consistent with the positioning, and helps dimensionalize it and bring it to life for customers.
Let’s explore with examples from Ace Hardware and Avis Rent A Car.
Ace Hardware has an advertising campaign targeting homeowners who get lost in large “home improvement warehouses” (meaning competitors such as Home Depot and Lowe’s). In a new commercial, an exasperated homeowner gets out of his car and implores his suburban neighbors to change: “We shouldn’t need a GPS to find the fertilizer.”
Focusing on convenience and service is not a new strategy for smaller players to fend-off the competition from big-box retailers, yet it can still be effective. Many shoppers prefer the ability to get in and out quickly. Ace knows this, and for decades has championed service with its slogan of “the helpful hardware store.”
I like the Ace commercial. It grabs your attention and conveys the company’s key message points in an engaging way. It’s effective. However, price is still important, and often the most important purchase decision variable. For example, the furnace filters I buy are about 15% cheaper at Lowe’s, so that’s where I go.
Avis has been successfully leveraging its “We try harder” positioning since 1963!
According to the company, the phrase “was – and is – a business philosophy that every Avis employee holds true.”
This Spring, Avis rolled out a new ad campaign based on user testimonials. Tom Gartland, executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer care for Avis Budget Group (parent company of Avis) described the strategy:
“For nearly 50 years, Avis employees have proven to be warm, respectful, empathetic and approachable people who go to extraordinary lengths to serve their customers’ needs. All of that goes into why we say that ‘We try harder’ when it comes to meeting the needs of our customers. Our new marketing campaign shows that Avis employees understand and demonstrate every day that we are ‘in the business of treating people like people.'”
Here’s a newspaper ad followed by the tv spot:
This advertising is totally consistent with the “We try harder” positioning and the creative is interesting and engaging. Even though the company cannot and does not guarantee this type of service, the ads still come across as credible (including one of the companion tv spots where the agent waits after hours for a woman on a late arriving plane).
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Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.