Byron's Babbles

We Try Harder!

In 1963 Avis came out with an add that rocked the advertising world. The CEO at the time, Robert Townsend, was running a struggling brand. Hertz was number one in the rental car space and Avis was way behind in number two. To help, Townsend brought in the hottest advertising agency of the time – DDB. The agency took the job on one condition: Townsend agreed to run whatever campaign they suggested no questions asked. With this creative freedom, copywriter Paula Green created the new tagline, the brand ran it and it helped turn the brand around – “We’re #2, and we try harder.”

There are several lessons in this story from Avis I was reminded of in Gem #16 entitled, “Beware The #1 Syndrome” in 52 Leadership Gems: Practical and Quick Insights For Leading Others by John Parker Stewart . Stewart reminded us it is hard to stay on top as number one in both business and athletics. It’s not only hard to become number one, but even tougher to stay there. Everyone is gunning for you, and the tendency to get complacent is overwhelming. Therefore, Stewart contends we need to take the Avis approach and consider ourselves or organizations number two and always keep trying harder. If we always work like we are number two, we will probably remain number one. Do you try harder?

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