Uber’s logo change

Yesterday, Uber announced its new logos for its passenger and driver apps. As is the case for most changes that represent a departure from what people are comfortable with, the majority of the reactions on social media were negative. I think that these will fast subside as people get used to the new logos. At the end of the day, as long as Uber’s logo isn’t offensive or threatening, what matters much more than its logo is the value of the service that the company offers.

What’s more interesting than the logo itself is the reasons why Uber decided to change the logo. From its announcement, the two main reasons for the change were highlighted as:

  1. “Every city has its own character and our long term goal is to have unique designs for cities as well as countries. This will mean adding hundreds more color palettes and patterns overtime.”
  2. “One of the big changes over the years is that Uber no longer moves just people; we’re now moving food, goods, and soon maybe much more. With the potential for many apps with many app icons, we needed one approach that connected them all.”

The first reason is to facilitate Uber’s global expansion. Uber operates in many different cities and countries, and needs to win passengers, drivers, regulators, and other constituents in each to be successful. Using different colors and patterns to represent its operations in each country is a way for Uber to make the members of that country feel unique. It also signals that Uber is ready to be flexible and tailor its approach in each country to align with local realities. This increases Uber’s likelihood of succeeding in each country.

The second reason shows that Uber’s initial trials in transporting food and goods, rather than people, are showing very promising results. In fact, the results are so promising that Uber is considering having the transport of food and goods in an app separate from its people transport app. So far, food transport has been positioned as an add-on service within its core people transport app.

This is good news for companies which focus on transporting food and goods in that it validates what they’re doing, but bad news in that it signals that Uber is likely to become their direct competitor in each country where it operates. However, all attractive markets inevitably get strong competition. So the market validation signal that Uber just sent for the viability of building a food and goods transport business is much more important.