Uber’s Branding Blunder


Executives of Uber, the new-age ride-sharing company (translation: online taxi service), just made an enormous branding blunder: they created an unfathomable logo, believing it’s a brand. Wrong.

The basis of this logo is the atom. The atom. Is Uber a chemistry lab? It’s as though Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory, the nerdy hit sitcom on CBS, is Uber’s CEO.

Such a blunder is common, especially in techdom, the result of putting amateurs in charge of branding.

People in Silicon Valley spend so much time breathing and rebreathing their own oxygen, they can’t perceive the rest of the world — the result of living in social media, instead of working face-to-face with real, paying customers.

Reinforcing my point, Uber issued a video to explain the “logic” of its new logo, and didn’t include the logo in the video. Seriously.

Newsflash: If you need a video to explain your logo, you’ve really screwed up.

Here’s a voiceover snippet from the video: “For us, the atom signifies our rapidly improving cities, the goods we move from place to place, and, most importantly, the people we serve.”

When Uber execs think of you, the customer, they think of the atom. Comforting, right?
Branding Is About the Customer

Branding is about the customer. Not your logo. Not your company. Not your product. Not your technology. And, NOT the freaking atom.

Branding is the specialized art of communicating to the customer a customer-validated value proposition — in the customer’s language, NOT geekspeak.

When your brand is strong and effective, customers react to it, remember it, and repeat it.
Parting Advice to CEOs

Never view and treat customers as nonhuman objects. Uber is doing this.

Put branding experts in charge of branding — just as you put software experts in charge of software and legal experts in charge of legal processes — NOT amateurish geeks.

Don’t copy Uber’s branding blunder: you’ll atomize your brand — and your company.
POSTSCRIPT #1: Uber Loses $1.2B in First Half of 2016

POSTSCRIPT #2: Travis Kalanick Resigns as CEO of Uber (06.21.17)


About the Author

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of two books:
Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.


© 2016 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.


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