What Ever Happened to the Value Proposition?

Do any of these brands stick out anymore?

I was in Los Angeles earlier this week to do the Adam Corolla Show. Of course, I had to rent a car to make my way around town, and once again, as it always is these days, the entire car rental experience was unimpressive. To put it mildly.

The rental companies seem to have stopped caring about their value proposition.

The value proposition is, basically, how much value in goods or services a customer is going to get in exchange for their payment.

How much bang for my buck will you give me?

Which translates to: Why should I deal with your company, instead of your competitor?

Like I said, the rental companies seem to have sucked the value from every part of the experience they provide:

  • They don’t seem to be able to tell you in advance, with certainty, what car you’re getting. As often as not, you get to the counter and they’re switching make or model on you.
  • GPS still costs extra. Earth to car rental companies: GPS is commonplace enough, and necessary enough for travel, that it should be considered standard. What are you waiting on? Next, they’re gonna charge us extra for tires.
  • Do we still have to do this song and dance about returning the car with a full tank of gas? (This last time, I was given the awkward option of returning it with either a full tank, or an empty tank, and anything in between would cost extra!) Why can’t I just drive around, return the car, and you worry about the gas? I’m relieved they didn’t penalize me for the empty Diet Coke can I forgot to take out of the cup holder. (Please make sure any Diet Coke cans are either full or empty.)
  • Satellite radio has to be extra? Really? The younger generations are starting to look at satellite radio as radio. When are you gonna switch over? 2050?
  • As if jumping through all those hoops to get the car isn’t enough, when you return it, you have to jump through countless more. Sign this and that, pay for this and that, go over this and that…is this all really necessary, when you obviously have a flight to catch?

Traveling is inherently stressful enough. A car is supposed to give you freedom. The last thing you need is to feel like it’s another ball and chain.

And since you go through all of this seemingly no matter which company you rent a car from, no company stands out.

No rental company uses the value proposition to differentiate itself. So there’s no brand loyalty.


When you buy a collectible from Steiner Sports, there are a few things you can take for granted. We take care of a few possible headaches:

  • The item is going to be framed, or mounted, or packaged, cleanly and elegantly.
  • It’s going to be 100% authentic, guaranteed. You don’t have to do your own due diligence. Steiner is the due diligence.
  • The shipping is going to be low-cost, and on-time.


These are controllable aspects of our products where we can offer real value. Value that differentiates us from our competitors.

I can’t understand why at least one of the car rental companies doesn’t look at their business that way.

Take a little less profit on each customer, but make every customer’s rental experience a little smoother, a little less of a chore.

The customers will flock to that brand in droves. And once that brand loyalty is established, enough revenue will come pouring in, that you won’t worry about the per-customer margin.

It’s a market that’s just begging for one company to step up!

What about your company? Where can you sweeten your value proposition? Where can you earn brand loyalty? Are you taking care of those areas?


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