If there ever were a company to personify the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome, it would be Uber! Across countries like Mexico, China, Spain, France, US, India and more, Uber has faced criminal charges/ unfair practices charges/ bans/strikes/protests (sometimes violent)- from respective national/state transport associations/Governments/taxi drivers. taxi unions, etc.
The rest of the time, the company is in the news as the world’s most valuable startup, one of the most well-funded startups, extremely innovative in terms of products and marketing, marching across the globe confidently and steadily, one city at a time.
Uber makes no warranty or guarantee regarding the reliability, timeliness, quality, suitability or availability of the services requested or that the services will be uninterrupted,’ state the (terms and) conditions- www.mid-day.com
I read the above snippet about Uber’s disregard or lack of ownership for safety of its service and then I come across the following which says a totally different story:
Uber and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)…. a strategic partnership that …..will focus on the development of key long-term technologies that advance Uber’s mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere- Uber Blog
All this Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde begs the question- “Will the real Uber please stand up?”
The company seems to be fire fighting all the time. As a consumer, especially a woman, I would be a little wary of using Uber if it does not ensure my safety in its rides. But as a marketer, I have always admired Uber for its extremely relevant, contextual and simply brilliant promotions and partnerships.
How can you not applaud a brand that has run marketing campaigns like Uber Breathalyzer kiosks (pubs in Mumbai will have Uber kiosk which will analyse your breath before you leave; if you are too drunk to drive, order an Uber from the kiosk) UberPOP (drive others for a fee if you have a car, even without a taxi driver’s license), Uber integration with Google Maps (Google Maps will show estimated pick up times for Uber for that location when asked for directions), #UberDCLove (using customer help to stop a Washington DC legislation making Uber 5 times more expensive); UberPitch and many many more?
So how to merge the two sides of Uber into one uber cool brand? How to convince every customer or potential customer to go for Uber without any qualms or misgivings?
The brand has done such a fantastic job with respect to marketing, PR and social media globally that for me to come up with marketing ideas that are not done yet is uber challenging. But try I will. (Digging in my heels…..get…set….go…)
If I Were Marketing @ Uber Cabs….
My Marketing Objectives-
- Get unique users to try Uber atleast once and
- Get more drivers to join Uber.
My TG- All adults in top 8 metros in India where Uber is trying to wrestle Ola Cabs
Sticky Marketing Ideas:
Ideas to get more customers or first time customers
Fit some Uber cabs with electric brooms such that while the car is plying on the roads, the attached broom is sweeping those roads. Promote it as part of Swacch Bharat or Clean India Mission. This will generate a lot of word-of-mouth since it will be a new sight on the roads. Also Clean India is heavily promoted and hence is top-of-mind.
2. Boarding Pass Collection and Trading
Everytime the cab is booked via the app, the ‘Guest’ will get a virtual ‘Boarding Pass’. People can collect boarding passes from one location to another (eg. Andheri to Parle). If you get X number of boarding passes for the same journey (either Andheri- Parle or Parle-Andheri), you unlock special benefits. To enable you to get the X number, you are allowed to trade boarding passes with other friends/relatives/strangers. The aim is to get people to use Uber more frequently and for new users to try it once atleast.
3. Treasure Hunt
Sit in Uber cars and participate in citywide treasure hunt. The driver gets the clues as and when each clue is solved. On reaching each location by solving the respective clue, the driver and participant get a small treat. The treat could be a donut or a chocolate or something small, to keep up the energy for the rest of the hunt. It could be publicised using PR and social media. People can keep tweeting their whereabouts. Make this an annual event- like Standard Chartered did with Marathon.
4. Exclusive Event Entry
Create an event that everyone would want to go to but only those who arrive in an Uber can get entry. Example of event- bring something to India which is not there currently like the seven wonders of the world or like Windows of the World (miniature wonders put up in China) so that those who haven’t gone out of India too get the chance to visit these.
5. Special fares to local train stations
Those who travel daily by local train can get special monthly fares to go from their home/office to the station. A lot of people take the bus or rickshaw to the station. This marketing idea would be a good alternative.
Uber cars currently not booked by passengers, can also be booked to carry cargo from point to point. This will ensure utilisation of spare capacity and attract a new set of customers i.e. business customers. Most local businesses use local taxis or motorbikes to deliver goods to other local businesses. Uber can be booked for the same.
If Uber can get permission from the Government, then it can start an ambulance service. There is a dearth of ambulances in each of the metros. An ambulance has to be fast and responsive, qualities Uber has. This will encourage more people to keep the Uber app on their phones, for emergencies. By providing this service, Uber’s reputation will improve since it is ‘helping’ people when in dire need. People can order an Uber Ambulance the way they order Uber cabs. Basic ambulance amenities should be on board.
Manicure/Pedicure/Makeup/Hairstyling can be done in an UberSalon (salon on wheels). Anytime, anywhere, promptly. Get ready on the way to the party or the wedding. Why waste that time?
One can book an Uber to go shopping- be it for marriage or regular shopping. You hop into an UberShopper. Tell what sort of shopping you want to do and that Uber shopping specialist will take you to the best outlets that would suit your requirements. He or she can also do shop hopping with you-drive you from shop one to two etc. Most times, people have requirements but no information on where to find those products. UberShopper can help.
10. UberBaraat (bridal car/marriage car)
Get a Mercedes for your wedding baraat (decorated Mercedes or whichever luxury car you want). Let Uber help you make a grand entrance as a groom!
11. CSR Free Rides for Police
To convey to people that Uber is safe, sponsor a free Uber ride for every member of the police force till their police station for a week. Use PR and social media to spread the message and pictures. Members of the Police Force do not get any luxuries, have limited pay for their efforts. This will sort of be like a ‘Thank You’ for keeping the city safe, like Uber keeps its passengers safe.
Ideas to get more drivers:
12. Education packages for Uber drivers
Pay for college through your Uber driving gig. A lot of people give up on their education since they need to start earning money soon. But if an Uber driver enrolls in the education program, they can get special rates or flexible timings or books or some direct/indirect help from Uber, enabling them to work and study both!
To encourage knowledge sharing amongst drivers, create a separate app for drivers wherein they update traffic situation on their respective rides. They update the start point, end point and traffic (red/blue/green/yellow as shown in Google Maps). For every update, they get points. If every driver gives live update on the traffic scene, Uber can improve its service times because its drivers can take alternate routes based on the traffic updates. Based on points, they get badges like- Helpful/ Expert/Specialist etc. And at the end of a certain duration, Uber can monetize or incentivize these points/badges.
14. Uber Lunch on Wheels
Drivers are out full day. Most of them may not be getting time to eat food. Like how corporates have office canteen, Uber can have two food trucks in the city for providing free lunch to the drivers. Non-drivers or customers too can buy these trays. So Uber drivers need not carry lunch everyday. They can see when the lunch truck is near them and get their tray accordingly.
These are some marketing ideas for Uber Cabs. How are they? Did you find them creative and doable? Different enough to get traction? Would love to hear your feedback in the comments.