Uber recently hit the 5-billion trips milestones but is still failing to show “what is stands for, how it helps cities or tell its own story”, something it hopes work including its charity initiative ‘Uber Giving’ can remedy.
The initiative, which had no media spend behind it, was launched in under 80 hours in response to the refugee crisis in European. Uber partnered with Save the Children, offering to collect items donated to the charity for free for 8 hours on one day.
Uber customers could use the service, which was available in 19 countries including nine UK Cities, by swiping to the ‘Giving’ tab in the app. It generated 5.6 million online impressions despite promotion of the service being limited to a blog, an email and “a couple of tweets”.
And speaking at the Festival of Marketing today (6 October), Rachel Pettit, UK marketing and development lead at Uber, said that despite the fact the company said while Uber Giving is fundamentally about charitable donations, she believes it is important for Uber to prove that the initiative provides a return to the business, as it “can’t just be about being nice”.
‘It’s less about being nice, more about being honest about who we are,” Pettit said.
“50% of the company think [Uber Giving] is a great thing to do, while 50%, sit where I sit and believe that we need to prove that it is giving a return to the business. We aren’t just here to provide amazing experiences.”
A startup within a startup
Pettit believes that locality was key to running the campaign and that by Uber’s marketers targeting specific cities differently, including different charities in different areas, the company was able to move much more efficiently, working as something she describes as a “startup within a startup”.
“I like to think of Uber as multiple startups within a startup – it allows you to move fast and make the most out of everything you are doing.”
Rachel Pettit, UK marketing and development lead, Uber
Pettit said that a startup structure is what has allowed Uber to move quickly and ‘so differently’ in its various markets, and is something the company backs up with weekly round tables to share ideas.
She advised older companies looking to take a similar approach, to “start again and forget about what exists” in order to make sure products are the “best in class”
“You need to start again, forget about what exists and you need to be relentless. As long as you have an end goal in vision, you have the best product and you really do care, there is no reason why you can’t succeed,” she said.