“Brand Crises on Steroids”: Why Uber is the Trump of Brands

Uber has dominated the ride-sharing industry for the past several years, growing from a startup to an international company with over 40 million users. However, the company has experienced a battery of scandals and crises, as Digiday explored. The most recent and intense scandal came about when former employee Susan Fowler published a 3,000-word blog post claiming she had faced sexual harassment and discrimination and was ignored by the human resources department on multiple occasions.

This scandal occurred only a couple of months after Uber faced considerable criticism for eliminating surge charges at John F. Kennedy airport in New York during a strike by the taxi drivers’ union. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick faced criticism with the hashtag #DeleteUber trending. Subsequently, Uber lost 200,000 subscribers. Vivaldi Founder and CEO Erich Joachimsthaler described Uber as the “Trump of brands,” noting, “Their brash irreverence makes them very alike.” The biggest problem for Uber has not necessarily been these scandals themselves, but the company’s lack of internal response, willingness to accept responsibility and movement to institute change.

In an attempt to react to these crises and the impact they are beginning to have on the company, Kalanick stepped down from President Trump’s advisory council, presumably to distance himself from the less than favorable President. Kalanick also brought Susan Fowler in order to conduct an independent review, as well as former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to help perform a diversity and inclusion report. It is clear the Uber and its CEO are in full crisis mode, but the question is: Are they too late?

Type: News