On February 2nd, Uber technologies made a seemingly overnight rebranding transformation. Unbeknownst to Uber fans, this redesign was anything but spontaneous. Plans for a brand refresh were internally dating back to over two years ago, explained CEO Travis Kalanick and Design Director Shalin Amin. The executive team set out to refresh Uber’s credibility and appearance in an effort to improve their overall consumer reputation. Ultimately, their goal was to “roll out a new look and feel that celebrates our technology, as well as the cities we serve”. Uber technologies was excited about the new look, however, first responders had mixed feelings about this transition. Through Crimson Hexagon’s social insights platform, we performed a brand perception analysis around the new branding:
I really don’t like the new @Uber logo because it looks like the app is still downloading
— Dylan (@DylanFroom) February 3, 2016
— louise rosen byer (@lawtweetn) February 3, 2016
We broke down the real time discussion regarding drivers of sentiment. From the data, we found that overall sentiment regarding the switch was neutral or negative, with 48% of social either disliking the logo, or arguing that it lacks brand recognition. In addition, 13% compared it to some similar designs, such as Chase’s banking app, Square and even resembling State Bank Of India’s logo. At a surface level, this could imply a lack of a successful launch for Uber’s logo. This level of topic analysis didn’t offer us a full picture, so we took it one step further into audience analytics. What was our goal? To understand who were the people that were participating in the Uber rebranding conversation.
The new @uber logo looks like a cheap combination of Chase Bank & SBI logos.
— INS No Lah! (@hackatac) February 3, 2016
So what do we know about the audiences who discussed Uber’s rebranding? Are the loudest and most outspoken users the ones who are riding in Ubers every day? By analyzing the historical traffic on social conversation previous to their rebranding, we can see that the discussions regarding Uber’s brand logo was generating minimal traffic, overall logo conversation was less than 1% of the 18 and a half million posts generated about Uber in 2015.
I’m extremely confused by the rebranding of @Uber. LOVE the colour scheme and detail, but the new logo makes zero sense.
— Ed Leonardi (@EL3ONARDI) February 2, 2016
What Uber should know, is that those discussing the rebrand seemed to be segmented into a specific niche of social respondents. To analyze this demographic we used Crimson’s Affinities interests to understand similar and different interests of separate discussions. In comparison to the general conversation about Uber on social, those specifically discussing the rebranding had stronger interests in creative and design fields, such as Software Development, Web Design, and Illustration. This is likely due to the general design interest in such a notable brand’s transition. Because we’re still seeing this audience as the initial group of people talking about the rebranding, it’s almost impossible at this juncture to understand the brand identity implications for Uber’s general audience of users. Time will tell how the logo transition affected usage or brand loyalty but for now, we can see the design and user experience community is actively responding to the rebranding.
For the future, Uber will need to clearly differentiate themselves using their new logo, and continue to respond to any problems regarding their brand identity. Another crucial aspect of the rebranding will be reinvigorating support from primary Uber-using audiences. Uber should arrange a targeted “Uber-lover” campaign to intersect their audience’s interests with the brand’s campaign efforts. Looking at the affinities of the general Uber audience, we can see that in 2015 Uber’s demographic resembled a more tech savvy audience, that’s 55x more interested in Blogging, 20x in Venture Capitalism, and 8x in Digital Media than the average Twitter user.
From these insights, we can see how social insights can paint a more accurate picture of the audiences reacting to a company’s rebranding. By utilizing social insights effectively, companies like Uber who plan to rebrand can pay less attention to initial designer responses, and gain a better understanding of specific topic trends, true consumer sentiment, and overall brand identity over time by capitalizing on these historical and in-depth insights. Crimson Hexagon’s platform can provide brands with an efficient and deep-dive analysis that is necessary for marketers in today’s digital age.
For additional rebranding insights and to learn how brand monitoring tools can help with brand strategy, we invite you to check out our American airlines case study.