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The Antihero We Deserve


The talk around town for the past few weeks has been about Uber Malaysia and the persecutions against it (Read more for details here).

Uber is a ridesharing service that simply connects riders to drivers. When a user download the app and request for a ride, an Uber driver will answer the request and give the user a lift from point A to B. In return, the user pays the driver via credit card which means that the entire process is cashless — making Uber rides starkly different from your ordinary cab services.

In the mid of this year, Uber launched its sub-service in Malaysia known as UberX; an economical version of the high-end Uber Black, pledging to provide the same private driver experience that gives taxi drivers a run for their money. That was the tipping point of the rivalry between Uber drivers and cab drivers, but now it seems that Uber has been cornered and forced to surrender.

For the sake of survival, when one has been pushed so far to the edge, what can a brand do to save itself from the fall?

1.  Change the Conversation

At first glance, it may seem like a technique used to brush off problems, but it’s just intuitive to not talk about what you don’t want to. The press, social media and word-of-mouth are powerful tools to alter perceptions. By focusing on the amazing experience that IS Uber, testimonials from the reputable and educating the overall public; this may just override the legal status stigma surrounding the brand.

2.  All Out Retaliation Campaign

The saying “go big or go home” is perhaps the best advice for Uber at this point. With all the negative connotations that have been related to Uber lately, perhaps the smart move is to ride the wave and make it worth the fight. Uber should use the momentum thrown at them right now, and turn it against the opponent. Turn all the negative statements into a positive by embracing it rather than fighting it, being loud and proud for what they’ve been accused of. Courage is always a good colour.

3.  Play Along

In a match where the majority is rooting for you, their voice determines your victory. So why not play along and pretend you’re losing? This could be a final card move, but with the amount of followers Uber has, it’s hard not to work. Play the sympathy card — launch a campaign that flutters Uber’s big puppy dog eyes, making our hearts melt in the process. In this way, Uber can position themselves as an honest company that wants to serve the people justly; the kind of character that audiences would fight for.

Whatever the case is, the power lies in the consumers’ hands.

In this sink or swim scenario, we can either throw them a lifeline or watch them drown. A brand is merely the people who believe in it, and we think the people have spoken as the beginning of last week; thousands of Malaysians have voiced their support in all corners of the media-sphere for Uber to stay.

Does your brand have a strategy to garner loyal, vocal consumers?

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