Why Uber and Lyft Drivers Need Identification or Car Branding

Utah Transit Authority Photo from Rideshare Service

MANKATO — Uber has been relentlessly advertising its rideshare app and opportunity for driving on their platform for cash payments from consumers who need a ride. Both Lyft and Uber are looking to expand services in markets across the nation, including Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities markets. As they become more mainstream commercial services, they will need more than a placard or pink mustache to look professional enough for the consumer.

Millennials are the next major group of United States consumers that will be in the workforce, leadership roles and consuming more services like rideshare apps. They may choose these services they are familiar with over taxis, but to overcome the hurdles of building trust in local communities across the country, the drivers will likely have to employ some useful traditional marketing tactics outside the digital realm, or even within it.

For example, taxi cabs and buses are easily recognizable and their brands are also recognizable within a urban area or even small town or city. These graphics help those transportation service providers establish a local identity and appeal visually to consumers. Just like a police car, taxis use vehicle graphics and display their phone numbers. It is possible that Uber drivers or Lyft drivers could use similar tactics, even providing their own unique style or brand to set themselves apart and compete. Of course, this may depend on the user agreements and policies of the rideshare services. It is not clear if this is allowed. But it might become a demand from the drivers themselves. Right now, there are some identification tips and features, but nothing that offers a branding or identification service.

Think of how independent distributors of grocery items do business. Sometimes, corporations like baked goods or snack brands, are delivered by distributors that own their own route but are contracted with companies like Pepperidge Farm, Bimbo Bakeries, etc. They own their own trucks and are sometimes allowed to sell advertising on the sides of those trucks to earn extra revenue. They have certain rules they are bound to, but they also have a certain level of entrepreneurial freedom. This is also how the business model for rideshare apps was developed, with the same concept and intentions for operating.

Advertising, branding and identification of rideshare service providers will empower these drivers to make more fares and compete with the traditional players in the commercial transportation market. This extends to limousine services as well.

Companies like Renee's Royal Valet - Limos, Coaches and Trolleys provides a service for various transportation needs. They are an award winning wedding limo service in the twin cities, but they also offer tours around wineries, breweries and other local attractions. The company already has a great service with branding on their fleet of stretch limousines, old-time trolleys and coach buses. They decided that they needed to boost business by expanding upon their digital advertising presence, including utilizing services like Angie's List.

Rideshare services will need to do just the opposite. Uber and Lyft provide their drivers with great digital advertising services just as Bimbo Bakeries provides great traditional marketing for their products distributed by independent operators.