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19 / Oct / 17
By Mary Obozua

Saving 'My' Uber & Why Brand Perception Still Matters

On the 22nd September I received a ‘personalised’ email from Tom Elvidge, General Manager of Uber London. If you use Uber to get around town you would have probably received the same email, noting the shock decision from TFL not to renew their licence and how signing the petition may cause Sadiq Khan (mayor of London) to rethink his decision.

It was the first time I had received an email from Tom or any senior personality at Uber, and to be sincere, I didn’t even know who he was till I carried out an internet search. It wasn’t that I was expecting regular communication from Tom, I was perhaps more intrigued with their communication/marketing strategy.

Did you ever watch ‘Undercover Boss’? I watched a few repeats the other day and this time round I had different conclusions and more questions. How are these executives able to go undercover with little or no disguises and work with colleagues for a week without being found out?!? What does top down communication look like to them and why was some sensitive concerns of employees never reaching the C-suite to be addressed?

What I gathered from Tom’s email is the same as my thoughts with some of the episodes I watched from The Undercover Boss series. It was that communication between brand and customer, management and employees, tends to be more effective when it is perceived to be genuine and consistent.

Improving customer loyalty and increasing employee engagement is the goal of most businesses today and although communication is not the only factor to achieve this, it does play a huge part in positively influencing measurement. 

From project managing customer satisfaction and employee surveys for a number of years, I’ve seen involvement and communication continue to be a focus for action planning. Most times it’s the style of communication and methodology that doesn’t seem to always land well or as mentioned previously, lack of consistency and genuine nature. Relevance is another feedback point and area of concern and can affect the perception of the brand both ways.

Personal touch

A personal approach does go a long way. The email subject for Tom’s email (Saving Your Uber) and the reference to ‘my journeys’ in the main message did make me stop and think. I did think about how Uber really did make life easier when travelling abroad or even going around town. I quickly forgot who Tom was and also that the reasoning behind Sadiq’s decision was quite serious.

The heart-warming end to each episode of Undercover Boss did highlight that a personal visit, a hand-written note and more visibility of the senior team does go a long way. It’s needed and has a way of bringing people together.

Lastly, going back to consistency – it’s not just reserved for when times are rough or when something is needed. It has to be worth the read, so loyalty from customers and employees are strong when you need them most. 


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