Uber tackles safety scare head-on

[Guest post by David Nichols, Managing Partner and Global Head of Invention]

Uber is the mobile app based cab company that has gone from zero to a valuation of $20bn in seemingly no time. We last blogged about the success of the brand to date here. It has turned the traditional cab company business model on its head and is winning fans & regular users the world over.  This wildfire success has not been without some issues. Potentially most damaging are the safety scares, like the highly publicised one in India where a Delhi woman who was raped by Uber driver is suing the company. These negative stories have raised concerns over safety – are the drivers insured enough?  Are their cars safe?  What checks are in place? 

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 10.12.50
As a registered user (I signed up at 6am in a hotel in Dallas and was stepping into a cab 5 mins later), I recently received an email from Uber entitled ‘Safety by Design’.  It outlines the ways in which Uber is not only safe, but safer than a regular cab. 

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 10.14.58
There is also a video explaining these features:

Why is this a smart move for Uber?:

  • Reasons To Believe (RTBs) by email: As marketers, we all know about having good RTBs in our brand positioning.  It is important to pick the top one and feature it in your communications.  Uber has gone one step further and emailed it’s specific RTBs directly to it’s consumers.  It’s personal, relevant and much more likely to get these multiple messages across than any broadcast media would.
  • Addressing concerns directly: Uber have not shied away from these issues or avoided talking about them. They are facing them head on, before they gather any serious momentum.  This shows that they are aware as a brand, understand their users and are prepared to act.
  • Using a problem to get ahead: This marketing communication is not just addressing a problem but showing how Uber is a better service than their competitors.  Like the best service brands, they have used a problem as an opportunity to deliver superior service.  When was the last time you had a cab company talk to you about your safety concerns? Never.  Uber is now one step ahead.


Uber is a young company with a radical new business model that is disrupting an established market to create unprecedented growth.  This pro-active email tackling concerns on safety is a great move.  It will no doubt not be the last challenge the brand has to face, but if they address the next one with the same consumer focus and swift certainty they stand every chance of defeating that too.   Now, I have to go.  Uber says my cab is 1min away.