Why Uber is an uber cool brand

In a week I have become something of an Uber addict. And it appears I am not the only one. The company's latest round of fund raising values the taxi ordering service at, wait for it, $40billion. Yes, you read right: forty billion dollars.

What is it that makes this an Uber cool brand?

(Note: As I write Uber has some serious passenger safety in India. This post is based on my UK experience)

1. Super sausage

This is one hell of a slick app that really works. It is based on a super product "sausage". Open the app and it geo-locates your position and tells you how many minutes away a driver is. It even shows you where the car is. And it has the car type, number plate and a rating for the driver out of 5. So far, my maximum wait has been only 5 minutes. Best of all was the car I orderd to take us home from the theatre last week. No sooner had I put my phone back in my pocket and, "Bam!", the car pulled up.

You load up your credit card details, so you don't need cash. Handy. And you can have several credit cards, for personal and business use for example. Useful. And there is the option to split the bill between several people with an Uber account. Neat.

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After your trip Uber email you a summary of the trip, including the cost, useful if you need to claim for expenses.

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2. Smart segmentation

Uber has a smart range of car services. Uber X is a basic, affordable minicab. Uber Exec is a nicer, smarter car and driver priced in line with a black cab. The last one I had offered bottles of water, wifi and iPhone charging! Then Uber Lux is the top of the range, more expensive offer.

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3. Pushing penetration

Uber has also been clever in the way they are actively driving penetration. I have already benefited from one of their trial programs, by referring Mrs Taylor to Uber and bagging a £10 voucher. This in turn drives me to use Uber more.

But what really knocked my socks off was seeing Uber appear on Google maps when I asked for a public transport route option. In the screenshot below, there's Uber below the train and tube options. It shows Uber is quicker, and even gives you a cost estimate. Click on this and you are taken straight to the Uber app. This is seamless, time-saving and super smart marketing.


4. Sexy sizzle

Last of all, Uber has somehow managed to inject some emotional "sizzle" into what is after all a bloody taxi ordering app! They have this whole black and white colour scheme going on and a memorable, slightly funky name which is much cooler than competitors like Get Taxi and Hailo. The app itself is slick and smart.

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In conclusion, Uber is a brilliant example of a new, digital brand that combines a great product sausage with emotional sizzle, and a marketing plan designed to drive penetration. Whether its worth $40bill, only time will tell. What it has already done is change the way I travel around London for the better.