A couple of days ago, Uber introduced a radical change in its image. The old, well-known logo got replaced by an array of different ones. Depending on whether you are a driver or a client, or where you live, Uber will now look differently. Was it just a cosmetic change, or is there more behind the decision? What consequences could this have for Uber’s reputation?
Uber is far from having an intact reputation. The company has a history of misleading customers about what background checks it performs on its drivers, defrauding customers, or sabotaging other cab companies. On the other hand, though, it is a very successful company which based its offer on fantastic insight into its target audiences.
It comes as no surprise to me that Uber keeps seeing to develop itself as a company and reach to gain new customers. I would imagine that a good way to start would be to focus on Uber’s faults and accusations it faces… Instead of doing just that, Uber introduced its new logo. Apparently, “it took (…) 18 months to agree on five pillars they thought best described the company Uber aspires to be: grounded, populist, inspiring, highly evolved, and elevated”. What it came to represent, were atoms creating the big entity and new values that Uber represents and wants to be seen through.
Uber even released the video, to better explain the concept behind rebranding.
However, soon after the logo was published, it turned out that the public was not as… amazed, as Uber thought it would be. Twitter users declared the logo “ugly” and “confusing”.
I have to admit, I was pretty much confused myself. If I didn’t know that the logo belonged to Uber, I would never have known. I don’t think it represents anything besides a nice set of graphic ‘woosh woosh’, and I can’t quite grasp why the new logo has come about precisely now. Uber claims the logo represents atoms. But the problem is… atoms represent everything, so therefore – nothing special here. I think that the rebanding approach has been started upside down, with logo being the last thing Uber should change now.Instead, the greater mindset change is necessary.
I think the company should focus on every market it operates in independently (not just by adjusting its logo), it should address accusations and make real visible effort to improve. The bigger they grow, the less focused they become (which is quite common to startups) and I think this is their biggest issue now. With rebranding, they were hoping for some identity and perception change, which, sadly, does not come given. Uber’s identity lies deep down in the core of its actions, and that is where Uber went wrong. A company with a great purpose to revolutionise cab transport has to understand the difference between its image and public perception, needs to understand its core purpose and itsreasons for existence. Then, Uber needs to deeply look into its audience’s needs and claims. That is what the rebranding should have focused on first, not on logo. And that is the key to successful shift in its image.