What’s going on with Uber in France? A lesson in economics and global brand management.

File illustration picture showing the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt court earlier this month instituted a temporary injunction against Uber from offering car-sharing services across Germany. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)

Uber France is an amazing study in brand management and economics. From it’s launch in 2011 at LeWeb growth has been tremendous but also fraught with challenges.

So what’s happened so far:

Launch of Uber in Paris in 2011, followed by UberX in 2013
Taxi Violence in 2015
Legal block of UberPop
Rate drop of 20%, October 2015
Uber drivers creating their own union (and potentially own app)
Launch of UberEats Paris

So what is Uber doing?

Repositioning it’s service offerings to cover the market

Potentially repositioning UberX to be better in line with other global markets. UK and US UberX offerings are positioned significantly lower than in France where Black has been seen as a luxury offering and he car types for X range from middle to high end.

Having left the market to initially grow organically and in it’s own way to reach critical mass, they are now re-aligning to be run in a globally aligned manner.

Managing supply and demand to find the optimum price level and new driver recruitment.

As the margins become tighter some drivers are leaving the system and the rate of new driver recruitment is slowing; for the Uber Black service new driver recruitment has been paused to allow demand growth before increasing supply again. What this means across all services is that surge pricing will begin to compensate for the 20% rate drop making sure that the market itself finds the optimum level of both supply and demand.

Create new business opportunities with the launch of UBerEats, effectively expanding the market potential and driving a new phase of growth.

Uber has found a new model for business, that has transitioned through massive growth, organisational challenges and is now attacking new growth markets – all with a technology base; software is eating the world!


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By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

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