Not to hate on something new, but there were so many things that were right about the old Uber logo.
I keep remembering all the times I was waiting for my Uber and seeing the old “U” emblem on the dash of the car approaching the curb and feeling really happy that my ride had arrived.
With so many people being exposed to this piece of sophisticated, artful, dare I say Iconic branding, what would prompt Uber to change it?
Could it be an erroneous need to be able to ‘Google’ their logo for different times of the year, or customize by geography?
The video Uber sent me via email right after I downloaded the app update with the new icon said the changes they made revolved around the atom and the bit, and how Uber is about creating services the way humans look at things.
Here’s the thing, that’s not what humans appreciate. Most humans value brands that have a decent corporate culture…how they treat employees & customers, how they treat women, and most importantly how they offer a fantastic service or product (which Uber does). Maybe even how the company gives back to society. They don’t give a crap about bits and atoms.
The dictionary definition of Uber is “Outstanding” or “Super.” If the company wants to be more than about ride sharing and wants to take a Google / Alphabet approach, the name Uber has that built into it already. No need to go into atoms & bits.
As it relates to looking good in the media, let’s face it- Uber has stuck their foot in their mouth a couple of times. The Uber brand has always been an unapologetically ‘good at what they do’ brand that brought utility, affordability, convenience and a bit of style to getting around town. But the ‘unapologetically’ part doesn’t always do them any favors. Another company (Airbnb) just got burned taking a dig at libraries. Hey I get these companies are worth a lot of money, but here’s where it becomes an issue.
The problem at Uber like at many companies starts when a senior executive (usually a tech) fails to recognize their own limitations and the expertise and talents of the creative team around him or her. Not everyone is a Steve Jobs (and don’t forget he had Jony Ive).
You don’t see great brands like Apple, Coca-Cola or Facebook doing this. Why? Because by consistently being about something over a long period of time has its benefits. When other companies catch up in terms of technology and price, it’s your brand (and how it resonates across all customer touch-points, along with the quality of your product) that distinguishes you in the market. This is why it’s so important to know early what your brand is about and stick with it.
There are some tech CEO’s who recognize their own limitations and trust the instincts of the genius design & creative teams they went to painstaking lengths to hire. Then there others who think they know better themselves.
Which one do you think Uber’s is?