5 brands we would miss: budget

Yesterday I explained that I’m devoting my blog posts this week to a series on “5 Brands We Would Miss.”  The series, prompted by 24/7 Wall’s list of “Twelve Major Brands That Will Disappear,” is intended to explore what we would miss as a result of some of brands’ demise.  Today, it’s Budget.

24/7 Wall explains the problems Avis/Budget faces:  “As the travel industry continues to falter, problems at Avis/Budget are going to get worse…Avis/Budget will find it impossible to support the costs of maintaining two brands. The Budget brand will have to be eliminated.

Some may argue that the Budget brand should have been eliminated when Avis’s owner Cendant first acquired it back in 2002 — but I will miss Budget as a consumer and as a brand strategist.

As a consumer, I have consistently received good, reliable customer experiences from Budget — particularly in comparison to its primary competitor, Dollar.  And I believe consumers have benefited from the healthy competition between Budget and Dollar.

As a brand strategist, I’ve found it interesting to observe the management of the two brands, Avis and Budget, by one company.  The company has tried to position Avis as a business travelers’ brand and Budget as the local market/leisure traveler brand.  Although the consolidation of back office functions must have created some efficiencies for the two brands, apparently other operational costs must not have been offset — after all, the selection of cars/trucks, services, locations, etc. all had to be different for the two brands.

But does this mean it is just too much to expect one (non-fast moving consumer goods) company to be able to support two brands with completely different positioning?  I suppose we won’t have the opportunity to find out if Budget is folded.

And that’s why I will miss it.  What do you think?  Are we really losing anything by the departure of the Budget brand?  Please let me know.  And look for tomorrow’s post on why we would miss Saturn.

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