Uber’s Brand Refresh

Uber has spent the past year trying to convince customers that it has put its problematic reputation in the past. And what better way to usher in a new era than with a complete rebrand?

Uber has unveiled an entirely new look that will eventually feature a fresh, custom-made typeface, new colors, a redesigned in-app look including animations and more.

The company says this rebrand reflects Uber’s transition from “San Francisco startup to a global company,” particularly one that’s become a “platform of mobility.”

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The company is doing away with the symbol that’s been featured on its app icon for the past two years. Through the aforementioned internal research, the team discovered that most consumers don’t actually associate the symbol with Uber, and that drivers would even turn around the decal that featured it to the other side, which read “Uber,” so passengers could have an easier time recognizing their cars.

Uber found its strength in three things: Its name, the U and the color black. So in creating a new logo, they leaned into those features.

That new logo is a simple wordmark that (naturally) reads “Uber,” with a capital U, in Uber Move, a typeface that was custom-designed for the brand. Previously they’d been using Clan Pro font, which, though they licensed it, they still had to share with other brands that did the same.

In terms of color, Uber is zeroing in on black and white in its new branding. However, there are several secondary colors, all of which take inspiration from transportation, and feature bold-but-soft hues of purple, green, red, yellow, orange and brown. A bright shade of blue is the “safety color,” inspired by the associations of blue with security in everyday life: The United Nations, for example, as well as the blue safety lights that are omnipresent on college campuses. This blue will feature more heavily in the app, as an accent color.

The hope is that this rebranding will make Uber’s presence is a bit clearer to riders, drivers and potential customers. Uber’s No.1 imperative in the redesign is “seeing Uber and knowing Uber,”

Lyft Pledges $1 Million to ACLU

Ride hailing provider Lyft has taken a strong stance against Trump’s new immigration actions and ban on Muslim refugees (which Rudy Giuliani admitted is exactly what it was intended to be on Fox News on Sunday morning). In an email sent to users, Lyft noted that it is “firmly against these actions, and will not be silent to issues that threat the value of the community.”

This is one of the strongest statements against Trump’s unconstitutional executive orders from a tech company to date, and Lyft is also putting action behind its words: The ride hailing company also announced it will be donating $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the next four years. The ACLU filed suit against Trump’s administration for the refugee ban, and succeeded in getting a temporary stay of the order from a federal judge on Saturday.

Many other Silicon Valley companies have expressed varying levels of opposition to the actions by Trump and his White House, including Google, Microsoft and Apple, but Lyft has done so with a public document (the messages from many others were shared via leaked internal employee emails) and with a clear articulation of why Trump’s actions are wrong on a moral level, not just as a potential hindrance to acquiring top level global talent, or as a threat to current employees who enjoy U.S. visa status.

Uber’s Travis Kalanick released an email to employees noting that the Lyft competitor would be working with drivers potentially affected to provide them legal assistance. He also said he’d raise the issue of the ban’s impact on “innocent people” during a meeting with Trump’s business advisory council on Friday, of which Kalanick is a member. Kalanick also acknowledged that many employees might disagree with his decision to join Trump’s administration in an advisory capacity, and said they enjoy the right to do so. Uber employees have taken to Twitter to do just that, and the company faces calls to boycott its service, and saw physical protests at its San Francisco HQ as a result of Kalanick’s involvement with Trump’s White House.

Here’s the entire letter sent by Lyft:

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Via Tech Crunch

Facebook Takes a Stand Against Fake News

Today, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said  that the company was exploring new ways to fight the spread of “misinformation” on its social platform amid criticism of its role in amplifying so-called fake news during the presidential campaign.

It is “technically and philosophically” difficult to determine what is fake and what to do about it, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “We believe in giving people a voice, which means erring on the side of letting people share what they want whenever possible,” he wrote.

Many observers have attacked the prevelance of made-up headlines on Facebook, arguing that they swayed votes in the election Nov. 8 and are continuing to distort reality.

Mr. Zuckerberg said new steps might include:

– Stronger detection. The most important thing we can do is improve our ability to classify misinformation. This means better technical systems to detect what people will flag as false before they do it themselves.

– Easy reporting. Making it much easier for people to report stories as fake will help us catch more misinformation faster.

– Third party verification. There are many respected fact checking organizations and, while we have reached out to some, we plan to learn from many more.

– Warnings. We are exploring labeling stories that have been flagged as false by third parties or our community, and showing warnings when people read or share them.

– Related articles quality. We are raising the bar for stories that appear in related articles under links in News Feed.

– Disrupting fake news economics. A lot of misinformation is driven by financially motivated spam. We’re looking into disrupting the economics with ads policies like the one we announced earlier this week, and better ad farm detection.

– Listening. We will continue to work with journalists and others in the news industry to get their input, in particular, to better understand their fact checking systems and learn from them.

The company earlier this week said it will stop serving ads to sites it decides are misleading or deceptive.

Let’s see how this goes. Take a look at this fake piece of ‘news’ which got over 10K shares in a matter of hours:

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#UberSpringCleaning.

We have all been there: we dutifully pack up the jeans that we haven’t worn in years and other items that have lived in our closets for years and promise to take them to Goodwill. For me, the nearest location is 3 subway stops from my house. The last thing I want to do is drag a hulking bag of clothing down into the subway and back out again.  Sadly, most of my donations end up being trashed.

Turns out, I’m not alone. Most unwanted clothing in the United States gets thrown in the trash. According to The Atlantic, Americans buy five times as much clothing as they did in 1980, and textile trash grew by 40 percent from 1999 to 2009. Americans recycle or donate only 15 percent of clothing, and in turn 10.5 million tons of textiles a year end up in landfills. This makes textiles one of the least recyclable materials that are reusable, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Less than 16 percent of the more than 14 million tons of textile waste was recycled in 2014.

Too bad giving away stuff isn’t as easy as it seems.This past Saturday, Uber partnered with Goodwill to come to the rescue.  uber-goodwill-spring-clean

Users of the mobile application in more than fifty US cities opened the application to find a new “GIVE” option, available only on May 2. Customers could use the feature to summon an SUV to pick up bagged clothes, which they took to the nearest Goodwill, free of charge.

In addition to major US cities where Uber has a large presence, the spring cleaning initiative was in cities such as Detroit, Dallas, Denver, and Miami, among others. The nationwide promotion between Uber and Goodwill was built off a previous successful spring cleaning initiative in New York last year, and another clothing drive in Boston and San Francisco last fall.

There were some hiccups. For example, a few of my friends reported that they kept getting, “No cars available,” messages. Also, Uber didn’t take full advantage of their social media resources to promote the initiative – most learned about it at the last minute via traditional media.

All that aside, I still believe the idea is a great one. Uber has huge brand awareness and resources that greatly benefit Goodwill and the initiative makes it fairly simple for people to give. I would love to see the likes of Blue Apron and Nature Box provide similar services. Imagine being able to donate your weekly box instead of, ‘skipping’ it?! #Awesome.