Uber admits it has ‘never really had a brand voice’

Uber says it is looking to get across a clearer “brand voice” in its advertising campaigns this year.

Uber is looking to evolve its product offering and better establish its brand voice in its marketing this year after admitting it had previously failed to communicate what it stands for and believes in.

Speaking at the Millennial 20/20 conference yesterday (3 May), Fred Jones, general manager and head of cities at Uber, said that will now form the focus of its activities this year, with the brand also planning to run more national campaigns as opposed to local PR stunts.

“We’ve grown really quickly, but never really had a brand voice in terms of what we stand for and what we believe in. Our service is quite complex with our riders, partner drivers and cities we serve,” he explained.

“This year, we’re looking at what our voice is, and what the best way is to communicate our message to different customers.”

The change in strategy comes as Uber battles a number of negative headlines including sexual-harassment allegations, concerns over the so-called gig economy and a #DeleteUber campaign that saw 200,000 people delete the app in protest at CEO Travis Kalanick’s role on US President Donald Trump’s economic advisory role.

And those negative headlines are impacting its brand. According to YouGov BrandIndex, Uber is 31 in a list of 32 transport brands, ahead of only Southern Railways. Its Index ranking, a measure of a range of metrics including quality, value and reputation, has fallen by a statistically significant 2.1 points over the past year to -4.7.

During the talk, Jones also discussed how the brand is evolving the product. While the app in London is a cash free experience, it is trialling allowing users to pay with cash in Manchester. It is also looking to become more inclusive as a company by having more wheelchair-accessible vans.

He concluded: “No one is really doing that well at the moment. You used to have to book one a day in advance, and now it’s less than half an hour.”