Understanding the Importance of a Good Reputation: Uber and UN Women


Today, UN Women and Uber are launching a partnership to work together around the world toward a shared vision of equality and women’s empowerment.”  

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and executive director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka declared in a joint statement on March 10th. The partnership promises to create 1 million jobs for women globally by 2020.
Less than a week before, Uber’s biggest competitor Lyft was starting a similar initiative. In celebration of National Women’s Day, Lyft partnered with nonprofit Dress for Success to donate 1,000 free rides to the organization’s clients, guaranteeing reliable transportation to and from job interviews. Lyft’s initiative encouraged people to share interview tips over social media and include the hashtag #RidesToSuccess. For each tip shared, the company donated a ride. On March 6th, Lyft announced that the donation goal of 1,000 free rides was to going to be extended to 2,000 free rides.
In the past, there has been a lot of controversy over Uber and its attitude toward women. There have been multiple complaints about women not feeling safe using Uber, and incidents where Uber drivers in Boston and New Dehli were accused of rape. The company has also created sexist ads in the past and threatened to dig up dirt and spread personal details of a female journalist who criticized the company. For these and more reasons, many are skeptical about the partnership.
We decided to use our ForSight™ platform to analyze and compare the social media conversations around both initiatives in order to find out what the public really thinks. How are people reacting to Uber’s gender empowerment initiative? How does the sentiment toward Uber’s initiative compare to that toward female-friendly Lyft? Can Uber fix its problem? Here is what we found:
In the week following Uber’s announcement (March 10th – 16th) there have been a total of 4,050 posts on Twitter related to its partnership with UN Women. Within the partnership-related conversation, the UN Women Twitter handle has been mentioned more than 1,900 times and the Uber Twitter handle more than 1,400 times. Lyft’s partnership conversation created less buzz, with a total of 1,772 posts in the week after the initiative started (March 4th – 10th). In that same time period, Lyft’s Twitter handle has been mentioned more than 1,000 times and the #RidesToSuccess hashtag more than 1,700 times.
Even though Uber’s conversation generated more volume, Lyft’s conversation was much more positive. After removing news-sharing and/or neutral posts, we found that 94% of Lyft’s total conversation is positive, compared to only 64% of Uber’s total conversation. Lyft’s initiative was better received because its an expansion of what the company has already done in the past. Lyft is at the opposite extreme of Uber when it comes to its treatment of women. Fourteen out of Lyft’s top 30 executives are female. The company also partneredwith It’s On Us back in September to help fight sexual assault and spread the word about it.
Uber’s positive conversation is driven by users who support the initiative and the negative conversation by users who, like we mentioned before, are skeptical about the partnership because of Uber’s existing reputation.

  Most of Lyft’s conversation comes from users sharing interview tips and using the hashtag to donate a ride. Many users also tweeted positive comments about the campaign itself, showing appreciation for the company.


Overall, it seems like it will take more action to turn the tide of public perception toward Uber and satisfy the company’s critics. Anyway, we believe that this is a great first step.
Social media analytics serves as the perfect tool for measuring the scope of PR issues, addressing the success of strategies designed to resolve them, and understanding the importance of a company’s existing reputation. Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform also allows companies to visualize changes in consumer sentiment and, by analyzing conversations before and after an initiative, to uncover the net impact of their efforts on consumers’ brand perception.
To understand how the platform can help your brand, schedule a demo with us today.

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