The Client Experience

The Truth According to Uber

What every company should know about building a brand… and engineering success

by Bruce Turkel

Mr. Turkel is CEO of Turkel Brands, a full-service, multicultural brand management firm located in Miami, Florida. He blogs regularly on marketing, PR & advertising issues and trends. Visit http://turkelbrands.com. Reprinted with permission.

Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is new to his position, but a recent email to employees proves he is a thoughtful inspirational speaker. When UK officials announced that they would not renew Uber’s license to operate in London, Uber announced its plan to appeal the decision. Moreover, Uber’s chief executive sent a remarkable email to his employees:

“While the impulse may be to say that this is unfair, one of the lessons I’ve learned over time is that change comes from self-reflection. So it’s worth examining how we got here. The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation. Irrespective of whether we did everything that is being said about us in London today (and to be clear, I don’t think we did), it really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours, where actions in one part of the world can have serious consequences in another.”

What Khosrowshahi clearly understands — and explains so powerfully in this memo — are both the ubiquitous reach of our newly globalized world and its importance to brand builders.

The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation... it really matters what people think of us

Brand value both reinforces — and pre-enforces — your audience’s experience with your business and your brand. In other words, not only does your brand confirm that your consumers had a favorable experience, but it also prepares them for the experience they’re about to purchase.

And if you’ve done a good job of building your brand value, then that positive feeling will push the desirability of your products beyond that of your competition. This will increase the chance of trial, purchase, and repeat purchase for your company’s cars, cameras or caviar.

Competitive advantage also works for services

And regardless of whether you’re a plastic surgeon, a keynote speaker or a ride-sharing app, a strong All About Them brand will both reinforce and pre-enforce your potential customers’ purchase experience.

Years ago, a great ad for McGraw Hill Magazines summed it up like this:

“I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s product.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now – what was it you wanted to sell me?”

What McGraw Hill understood when they ran that ad back in 1958 is just as true 60 years later when Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi eschewed corporate speak to write: “it really matters what people think of us… where actions in one part of the world can have serious consequences in another.”

Your brand value is the key to your business success.