The Long-Term Power of the Uber Brand

Today, the company “Uber” stands for using your phone to call a private car — and that private car, while a bit pricey, will provide a great ride and seamless experience. But tomorrow, “Uber” the brand could stand for much, much more. For me, the real power of Uber is the brand it has earned for itself. Right now, that brand is a promise between the company and users that what you order will come to you and deliver that service. But, in the future, what if “Uber” transformed from an adjective into a verb, where I launch a mobile application whenever I want something? It could be a private car, or it could be another type of service (“bring me beer”) or even goods (“I need more toothpaste”).

It would take a long time and an insane amount of work to get there, but the idea and the brand could be that big. Today, there are many fragmented applications that offer these on-demand services, but for the general consumer who may be trained to visit Amazon.com whenever he or she needs to buy something, Uber could be that mobile application gateway to scratch that same itch, standing for a brand that will deliver goods or services to you on-demand and in a mobile context. I don’t know what Uber’s plans are, as they seem focused on expanding the service in other cities, hinting at the future of local logistics, and could even expand their fleet in terms of different modes of transport (Uber Helicopters?), but I wouldn’t put anything past this team. Consolidation of fragmented services could happen over the the next 3-5 years, and for on-demand mobile services, Uber has built the strong brand connection with its clientele, a relationship that could reap significant rewards.

Haywire is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2014 Semil Shah.

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