Problems With Our Name
The phone rings: “Hello, can I get a ride from the airport?” “Yes, I’m sure you can but not from us.”*click*
Since sometime last year conversations like this have been a daily occurrence. I estimate an average of around a dozen a week. In 2012, when we founded, Uber had only recently changed its name from UberCab and was only operating in a few major cities. Their massive growth coupled with a lack of very visible end-user phone support leads to a lot of people finding our company and getting hung up on the first word.
First Thoughts On What To Do
At the beginning of last year, Andrew and I discussed a slight rebrand to de-emphasize the Uber in our name but the fact is we really like our logo as it is and customers and friends have asked us not to change it. It’s been through 6 or so revisions with input from some very talented designers and I could not be happier with the end result (except for wanting the umlauts squared off).
To be quite frank, it looks infinitely better than Uber’s crap logo and we didn’t even have to spent millions or take a lot of drugs to create it. We listened to feedback from our peers and worked from a solid basis. Below is what happens when the CEO is a narcissist and doesn’t listen to constructive criticism:
Our name, Uber Motif, was picked because we wanted something to emphasize our commitment to creating memorable designs that were better than the competition. We sat in the office of our former startup and just did wordplay until some works stuck together. Reactions to the name back in 2012-2013 were dramatically different. We were either the cool name guys or the weird name guys. Unfortunately it wasnt easy to remember the *exact* name. But people always seemed to remember the feeling they had when they first heard it, so it worked to be remembered.
Nowadays we get called Uber or the ‘Uber guys’. And I don’t particularly like the association with a company that can’t advertise a proper support line to its drivers or customers. It’s not fun when even our bank thinks we’re drivers.
We will begin the pivot over the next month to using a new name. For the time being the company will remain Uber Motif LLC and our marks will be included so our customers know it’s still us. We’re not being taken over, this was a decision we had to make for our future.
The new name will better represent the kinds of services we provide today as well as give us room to grow into new areas. I feel the old name limited us a little to being only design focused when we actually do much more than that. I believe we’ve found such a name that will be able to stand the test of time and not get encroached on again.