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A Bumpy Ride Ahead for Uber

A Bumpy Ride Ahead for Uber A Bumpy Ride Ahead for Uber A Bumpy Ride Ahead for Uber A Bumpy Ride Ahead for Uber A Bumpy Ride Ahead for Uber
12/9/14
1/5
by Grace Yeung
Uber, one of the most sought-after and lucrative start-ups from Silicon Valley has been all over the news lately in light of its successfully raising more than $1 billion from investors in another round of funding. Unfortunately, its recent press has been predominantly negative, as its attitudes towards competition, privacy and women have all been called into question. The ridesharing service company has been ensnared in myriad scandals including its aggressive tactic in poaching drivers from its much smaller competitor Lyft and threatening a journalist who has criticized Uber. On top of this, the media is beginning to investigate whether customers’ data could potentially be misused.

Since the majority of negative press just occurred in the couple months, BAV does not have the data yet to analyze whether the perception of the Uber brand has changed. However, it would still be interesting to dive into the current state of the brand for benchmarking purposes going forward.

As expected, Uber is seen as a niche brand, a company that is highly differentiated from other brands, yet knowledge about its capability is low. Zooming into another layer, males and females do view Uber quite differently. While females see Uber as a much more distinctive and unique brand, they hold the brand in lower relevance, esteem and knowledge.

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Given the recent controversy, Uber should also take heed of customers’ current attitudes towards other attributes, such as trustworthy, friendly, and kind, and see how these attitudes may have improved or worsened overtime. As of the most recent time period, Uber had a very low score on trustworthiness among both males and females. In fact, other brands that are seen as untrustworthy are Lucky Strike, Bitcoin, and countries such as Russia and Cuba. It is also of great concern that current data already reflects a drastic difference between the female and the male point of view on Uber. For instance, females feel that Uber is a more arrogant and unapproachable brand than males.

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Additionally, females think of Uber as most similar to the brands below. Although a lot of these brands are considered to be forward thinking and visionary, some of these brands, such as Go Daddy and Craigslist, are at times viewed as either misogynistic or unsafe.

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One positive aspect of Uber is that it continues to be creative when it comes to introducing new concepts and ideas on top of its regular ridesharing services. Uber Essentials is one such concept in which the company leverages its large fleet of cars to deliver items such as medicine, snacks and toothpaste to your destination. Another idea is Uber’s recent partnership with Spotify in 10 U.S. cities, allowing Uber users to become backseat DJ’s.

Both Uber and Spotify are niche brands, but Spotify outperforms Uber in both Brand Strength and Brand Stature. In fact, it is rated higher in all four BAV pillars, so a partnership could give Uber positive brand rub. Other similar companies to Spotify are also shown as potential brand partnerships that Uber should consider as well.

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Speaking of brand rub, the general population views Spotify as more of a trendy leader, and Uber as more of an original but unapproachable brand. With this proposed partnership, Uber hopefully can leverage Spotify’s brand health to resolve or ride out this PR firestorm.

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In sum, despite forming successful partnerships to draw in more users, Uber should start to craft a more stringent privacy policy to assure the public that it treats its riders’ data with sensitivity, or it risks seeing its brand value erode. According to the Washington Post, even Uber job applicants have access to users’ data, which certainly does not bode well for its brand. In the world of big data, gaining usership is important, but so is maintaining trustworthiness.

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