DISCOUNT Car Rentals
How a family-owned business bridged the gap between traditional and digital marketing
Competition in the car rental market really revolved around convenience of pickup and drop-off locations, and digital marketing strategy was all about discounts. Customers didn’t seem to see much reason to choose one company over another, however, and rental stock – kept deliberately low to maximize efficiency – tended to rise and fall across all competitors evenly, so highly price-sensitive customers had sky-high expectations.
Discount felt like they could never take their foot off the gas. They had good brand recognition and recall among Canadian car renters, but anxiety over digital marketing and negative customer feedback on social was rampant. Discount just couldn’t seem to establish the kind of brand rapport that would give them a consistent advantage in the absence of price discounting and local promotional campaigns.
I spent 12 months digging into research, identifying efficiencies, and developing strategies to take the business to the next level. I worked with executives and managers to explore Discount’s unique history and family-run values, and used that as a platform to develop consistent, meaningfully integrated campaign plans that positioned Discount as Canada’s national car rental company.
If Discount was a national brand, it had to act like it, and that meant TV. Canada Unlimited integrated Discount’s status as the country’s only Canadian-owned national car rental company with their unique offer of unlimited kilometres in a national television and digital marketing campaign that evoked union, emotional purpose, and the vastness of Canadian experience.
I wrote and tested multiple spots and then leveraged my creative production experience to make the spots at a fraction of the regular cost.
The Great Pokémon Adventure
To get off the traditional price-promo treadmill I had to help Discount think outside the marketing box. I collaborated with the executive team to explore light-hearted, affordable ways to express the brand’s unique value online.
Discount’s Ultimate Poké-Weekend Adventure brought four friends to Toronto for an all-expenses-paid tour of the city’s hottest Pokémon hunting spots, complete with a Discount-wrapped Poké-Mobile and a hilariously inept Poké-Master in the form of local comedian Lars Classington to guide them.
Discount had been guilty of the most common corporate social media sin – using their pages to publish generic, occasion-based messaging and ignoring genuine feedback. The familiar result was national cupcake day posts flooded with customer service complaints.
I worked with the CSR team to develop guidelines to allow them to handle customer interaction online, and developed an integrated, strategic content plan that gave Discount relevant, appropriate ways to publish and promote their services on social media.
I developed a clear brand and digital marketing strategy for Discount, significantly increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of all their marketing, and helped them find a voice in social media that felt valuable to both them and their customers.
As a big organization that functioned as a small family-run business, I collaborated with executives, managers, and family advisors to incorporate existing practices with new, evidence-based approaches to both digital marketing and traditional advertising.
I was helping Discount build a brand, but that didn’t mean we weren’t focused relentlessly on increasing revenue. My “brand response” approach, coupled with production cost reductions, contributed to a huge leap in share and profitability.
I helped Discount go from being just another local competitor in the car rental business to a national brand with a strong, integrated identity, garnering a 73% success rate in identifying key brand attributes in focus group testing.