Branding can play an important role in the success and/or failure of a product and company. It’s what defines who and what a company is and is essential to help set the company’s tone and vision. That being said, branding may not be as important in the early stages of a product. At that point in time, all that matters are users, validation and growth. But as you do begin to grow, branding will help you become a recognized name and will take users from liking your product to loving your product.
Lyft’s branding is what made me love them, but now it’s dead…and Uber killed it.
Lyft vs Uber
Each company has a completely different style and brand and it is important for us to understand what those are before moving forward.
Lyft is Fun
Lyft has had this young and fun energy about it, all rooted in their weird and goofy pink mustache. When a driver picked you up, they would give you a friendly fist bump and have the car stocked up with yummy candy and gum. I even had a Lyft car pull up with fluorescent lights all around the outside and inside of the car, plus the driver was handing out glow sticks…super cool because my buddies and I were heading to a party. But all in all, Lyft had fun and energetic drivers who made you feel welcomed and comfortable.
Uber is Buttoned Up
Uber started off with the famous black car service, with clean and suited up drivers. Yeah, they may have had some gum and water bottles in the car, but it gave off a very professional vibe. Just like professional limo drivers, Uber drivers were reliable.
How Uber Killed Lyft’s Brand
I am like a broken record and complain to my fiance about the same thing, almost every single time that we get a Lyft. I have even lectured certain Lyft drivers about this..albeit when I was buzzed and chattery.
Lyft’s fun and energetic brand has died because drivers are now doing both Uber and Lyft. (Click to Tweet)
Simple as that.
Every time I get a Lyft, I will ask the driver if they do just Lyft or if they do both. Around 65-75% of them say that they do both Lyft and Uber. So why has this killed Lyft’s brand identity?
Well as I mentioned above, Lyft is fun and Uber is buttoned up. How can one driver be both buttoned up and professional, as well as fun and energetic? It’s not entirely impossible but it sure is difficult to embody two differently personalities. So now when I get a Lyft driver, the chances of them being fun and energetic are fairly slim. I’ve probably had 1 fist bumping driver in the past 20 or so Lyfts, and none that really carry candy anymore. I’m trying to stay away from sweets, so it’s not a huge deal, but my point is that Lyft’s brand has changed.
Remember when you would call a Lyft and a car would pull around the corner with a funny, pink mustache pinned to the front? Those days are long gone. Now you may see a little pink fluorescent light shaped as mustache on the dashboard, but in most cases, you will only see a Lyft sticker in the bottom left side of the windshield. As a driver of both Lyft and Uber, it does not make sense to stick this giant, furry pink mustache to the front of your car. How are you going to act as a professional Uber driver when you have a pink mustache on the front of you car?
In order to swap between the two identities, Lyft drivers have had to sacrifice their fun and goofy persona in order to find a middle ground to take on more Uber (or Uber X) passengers. As a result, Uber has officially killed the Lyft persona that we once knew and loved…or at least I knew and loved.
Your turn: Which companies brand do you prefer, Uber or Lyft?
Photo courtesy of Steve Rhodes