UBER – where Plouffe’s touch turns into gold?

We have all witnessed UBER’s rapid expansion. Some acclaiming it, some, more conservative, dismissing it. Truth is, if you look at the numbers, there’s a bigger picture here:

  • The latest fundraising efforts could value the company above $50 billion (YEAH, YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!!)
  • UBER EATS, a food delivery service recently expanded from 2 markets to 4
  • There is a potential acquisition of Nokia’s HERE mapping service for up to $3 billion
  • UBER is investing in a robotics facility in Pittsburgh that could be used for the development of driverless cars.

Safe to say big things are coming their way. It’s no longer all about cabbies. In fact, it never was. The bigger picture portrays a company focused on innovation, aware of the fact that for a business to work nowadays it needs to focus on 3 main factors: accessibility, speed and technology. Oh, and one more thing. That magic thing that can either turn you into a winner or a whiner: YOUR COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY.

And that’s where UBER pulled out their ace card: David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager and political strategist was appointed by UBER as the company’s senior vice president of policy and strategy in 2011.

That’s when every crisis situation became a new opportunity to build up a strong image reflecting safety, innovation, accessibility and modernism. When hundreds of taxis blocking Trafalgar Square causing gridlock all across central London just to protest against your company, you would immediately classify it as a crisis situation.  Most would, but UBER was already one step ahead of the game, controlling the narrative before, during and after the day.

Neelie Kroes, the  European Commissioner for Digital Agenda commented on the case: “Taxi protests – tech is disrupting many sectors. Taxis cannot be exempt. We need to work with tech not against it, it’s not the enemy.”

Plouffe stated in an interview “We’re on an inexorable path of progress here, Uber is making transportation safer. It’s providing jobs; it’s cutting down on drunk and distracted driving. I think the mission is really important. A tweet-length change to a law could spell the difference between success and failure of an entire new sector”.  His messaging is so clear and concise but at the same time spot-on and competitive. There is no space for confusion or misinterpretation here.

An integrated 360-degree communications strategy is a key-element to a growing business. UBER understood that when they appointed David Plouffe. His ease at swaying through politically-sensitive issues and turning crossing-point into winning-points is invaluable.