Uber’s Radical Rebranding: Signs Your Brand Needs a Lift

The recent, radical rebranding of Uber had many wondering if the company had taken wrong turn.

Millions scanned their smartphone screens last month for that familiar black-and-white icon to access the ride-sharing network. But overnight, the mark vanished. What they discovered instead were one of two geometric shapes: Circle for riders and hexagon for drivers.


Black, white and gray tones were scrapped for an array of vibrant colors and a wide range of dynamic patterns, tailored to each of the 65 countries in which Uber operates. For example, in the U.S., the logo is now dark teal. In China, it’s red. In Ireland, it’s green (of course).

CEO Travis Kalanick told Wired.com the tech firm wanted a more flexible brand experience that could evolve as it attracts new customers and develops new products.


It was a major shift in gears for a company that has built a fervent following in recent years. Many derided the choice. At the same time, Uber had somewhat of a unique challenge in that its brand is both global and local. The ride-sharing market in Shanghai is much different than that in Cleveland, and the brand needed to reflect that.

So, how do you know if your company will benefit from a rebranding or if you should just ride it out with the one you have?

The very first step to answering that question involves meeting with the experienced Cleveland web design team at Go Media. We can help offer direction. The fact that you are launching a new website or an updated product line doesn’t necessarily mean you need a total overhaul. Still, it’s a good time to hit the brakes and consider whether it makes sense.

Every situation is going to be different, but in general, we recommend a rebranding in cases where:

  • Your brand fails to reflect your current vision. This is fairly common. What seemed like a good choice for a name 10 years ago is no longer doing your organization justice. Other times, there is a shift in the cultural context of the name or symbols or colors. The bottom line is the brand should be propelling you forward, not dragging you down.
  • It’s tough to differentiate your firm from the competition. If all your branding is too similar to the competition, you may want to consider branching out. After all, the whole idea of branding is to carve out a competitive edge.
  • You shy away from doling out your business card or website address. If your website is stale and outdated or the brand just looks unoriginal or boring, you should probably consider an update.
  • The business strategy or model has changed. Evolving technology and previously unforeseen opportunities can alter the way your business operates. You should make sure your brand is aligned with those changes.
  • You’re in the midst of an acquisition or merger. Anytime there is a merger or acquisition, it should be seen as an opportunity to consider a rebranding effort.
  • Your current brand carries a negative connotation. In this age of digital media, a single social media misstep can result in serious consequences for the brand. In some cases, rebranding is the cleanest remedy.

And of course, don’t overlook the possibility that your firm might benefit from a brand refresh versus a total rebranding effort. A brand refresh allows you flexibility to:

  • Shift the look, but keep the logo.
  • Update the colors and add messaging.
  • Expand the design system.
  • Update, yet still retain visual connection.

If you are considering rebranding, our skilled team of designers will advise you of the best route.

Contact the Cleveland brand experience experts at Go Media by calling 216.939.0000 or contact us online.