How Bob Ansett beat his rivals in the car rental business – and what lessons for agri-business?
One of Australia’s business tycoons Bob Ansett, Founder of early rental car market disrupter, Budget-Rent-A-Car (as it was then called) gave a Keynote speech recently sharing his life and philosphies.
Gordon Stone was fortunate to be present at the event to network with Bob Ansett – and hear his story.
What can you learn from Bob Ansett?
Bob Ansett was an early market disrupter – and did business in a completely different way to most business people. Bob was an extremely skilled in Holistic Relationship Marketing – bringing Employees, Customers, Suppliers and Community together.
When Bob Ansett started Budget, the Australian Car Rental Industry was approximately a $20 million dollar industry sector. Fewer than 3% of the Australian population had ever rented a car and they were confined to the top socio economic group. The market leader, Avis had 85% of the total market because of their exclusive agreement with the federal Government to supply rental cars at all 56 (of the then) domestic airports. The remaining 15% was divided up amongst 4 other companies.
So how did Bob Ansett create the massively successful Budget brand?
Bob did things differently… It was all about a “CAN DO” attitude to business…
Bob Ansett built relationships with his Employees, Customers, Suppliers and the Community in which he operated. This empowered them to achieve their own outcomes – to meet their personal needs and aspirations.
Here are some of the ways that Bob Ansett differentiated Budget from his competitors:
- Constantly seeking ways to differentiate his business from others doing similar things.
- Reaching out to engage his Customers at a personal relationship based level , rather than waiting for them to come to him.
- Keeping them informed on what he was doing to make a rental car more affordable – and how this affordability and new ways of renting cars would benefit them.
- Being creative in the ways in his which he kept Customers informed.
- Always being pro-active – by using mechanisms he developed including like Complaint Marketing, Direct Response Advertising, Adding Value, and Loyalty Programs.
- Identify his top customers and add some defined value to his relationship with them – generating return custom. He used innovations such as occasional personalized hand written letters – which today, is something that is so rare it becomes memorable and thus highly effective effective at a personal level with customers.
- Always getting “down into the trenches”, talk directly to customers to find out personally what’s working and what’s not, finding out what they think of him as the business owner and team members and how better to satisfy their needs. He then acted directly on the information he personally acquired – while empowering his senior leadership members to do exactly the same.