Ask Brad: Is Bigger Better?

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If you think building a big RIA firm is the sure path to success, the history of the rental car industry proves otherwise.

In the early 1960s, Robert Townsend was faced with a problem.

Townsend was the president of Avis rental cars, the then #2 rental car company. His problem? His company’s market share trailed far behind Hertz in the competitive car-rental field.

He was competing in a commoditized industry.

His rental cars weren’t any newer than Hertz’s cars were. He didn’t have more locations than Hertz did. Nor did he charge lower fees than Hertz did.

How could he possibly compete?

When pondering this quagmire with his then advertising agency, Townsend was asked what did make him different from Hertz.

His response, “We try harder.”

That moment of reflection turned into an iconic slogan that lasted more than 50 years, and in the years that followed it help Avis significantly close the market share gap with Hertz.