UBER Taxi. Differences vanish.


unnamedUBER Taxi is not a typo. It’s the reality of what all too often is a brand migration from competitive redefinition to equal and alternative.

What made UBER so appealing a while back? Was it the business model of independent owner/operator?

Was it the UBER application that allowed users to order a hire from their smart phone? Was it the GPS tracking of the ride that you could track in REAL time on your phone? Was it your ability to pay in advance, save a few bucks, pounds, or euros? Was it the simplicity of not having to figure a tip?

Disruptive Innovation

It was all of those things. UBER was the definition of a disruptive innovation.

London Taxi. Uber Taxi?The means to hire a ride was transformed for the better. It was cheaper, predictable and more convenient. Sure, it was still easier to hail a cab in New York or London because of the abundance of taxis in most major cities.

But if your travels took you to a restaurant in an area of the city that was less popular — heck, UBER was great.

But UBER’s difference is shrinking. Like so many revolutionary ideas before, as the business matures, the differences shrink.

A few weeks ago, I hired an UBER ride and the driver had posted a sign in his vehicle that read: “Tips are Welcomed.” Sorry, buddy, but UBER is a tip-free ride in my book. Pay tips and you are an UBER Taxi. No different then a NYC Yellow Cab.

Disruption has a short life

Disruptive innovations often have a short shelf life. Competitors in the legacy markets adapt to the new changes and soon the differences that made the service or product so revolutionary become table stakes. A few examples? The BlackBerry took the interactive pager and telephone to new heights.

UBER TaxiThe innovation revolutionized the market. Enter the iPhone, which was the disruptive innovation that changed mobile communications and killed the BlackBerry. Just this past week, BlackBerry ceased production of its old style (retro, believe it or not) keyboard. Try to buy any phone today that is not smart and you will see how the market adapted.

Xerox pretty much invented the office copier. Today, it has become a verb that has nothing to do with the brand itself.

So much in our world loses differentiation and becomes synonymous with the product or service they were meant to displace.

UBER has poor brand management

The UBER Taxi is just such a service because no one is actually managing the brand. The brand’s promise is left up to the independent drivers and, as fares increase, taxi companies roll out apps, drivers/operators solicit tips…and the differences vanish and UBER becomes UBER Taxi.

esurance as UBER TaxiDid you ever wonder why so many of our newspapers have dual names? Like the Herald Tribune, daily competitors became one entity.

Unless UBER continues to disruptively innovate and create a brand message beyond smart phone accessibility we can expect an UBER Taxi service that is a division of Yellow Cabs in NYC.

Remember when esurance was trying to disruptively innovate the world of insurance? It claimed lower overhead because of its on-line model and independence. Today? It’s a division of Allstate.

Freightliner Brand Study taking advantage of market trends

Trucking Brand Case Study

By Tom Dougherty

Freightliner Brand Background

Freightliner logo in the Freightliner BrandFreightliner LLC, a DaimlerChrysler company, is the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading producer of medium-duty trucks and specialized commercial vehicles.

They compete with Kenworth, Peterbuilt, Volvo, International and others. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Freightliner LLC manufactures, sells and services several renowned commercial vehicle brands.

Through the company’s affiliates, Freightliner LLC is also a leading provider of heavy-and medium-duty diesel engines and other components.

The Scope

The company’s strategic partners in the North American commercial vehicles market include DaimlerChrysler Services Truck Finance and TravelCenters of America. The Freightliner Trucks brand is one of the most recognizable and respected names in the trucking industry.

The Target Audience

Western Star brand audit as part of the Freightliner Brand work
Click here to read about brand audits

Fleet managers and owner-operators alike associate Freightliner with efficient, dependable vehicles – business tools to be relied upon day in and out under even the most punishing conditions. Freightliner Trucks, the largest division of Freightliner LLC, manufactures Class 5-8 trucks that serve a wide range of commercial vehicle applications.

Its commitment to innovation, technology and responsive customer relationships makes it easy to understand why Freightliner is the best-selling brand of heavy-duty Class 8 trucks in North America. Long-haul highway vehicles include the efficient and reliable Columbia, the technologically advanced Century Class S/T and owner-operator favorites, the Coronado and Classic/Classic XL.

The Project

Freightliner came to Stealing Share with some confidential brand needs and a desire to rebrand Freightliner as well as other strategic and brand assignments. They needed to understand and respond to trends in truck manufacturers.

Freightliner behavioral modeling as part of the Freightliner Brand workThey wanted our help in making the Freightliner brand more important with owner operators (Freightliner is already the hands down US market leader in corporate Fleets) and responsive to trends in truck manufacturing..

The research conducted by Stealing Share’s Resultant Research was deep and broad and involved both quantitative and qualitative research. To make the research valuable when branding trucks, Resultant anonymously surveyed owner operators from coast to coast an in Canada to better understand their brand preferences and life precepts.

The Results

Freightliner Brand cascade modelThe market is very crowded and is populated by some formidable players. Stealing Share developed a powerful Freightliner brand position for owner operators and clarified the brand architecture, hierarchy and promises — strategies that promise to keep Freightliner foremost in the minds-eye of smart truckers everywhere.



Read more articles on Automotive and Transportation here:

Market study of the automobile segment 

How BMW structures its brands