For a little refresher, media ratings are a percentile rank metric that converts media mentions across 20+ media segments (traditional, social and search) into a single value between 0 and 100. When you’re Uber and your rating is 92, where do you go from here? What’s your brand media strategy when you’re topping out?
First, let’s review the brand’s current media rating metrics. Uber is off -1 point at 92 for the April media cycle. Rating performance has been flat over the prior 6-months. More importantly, media momentum is off -22%, the most in nearly 2-years (essentially the most ever given how young the brand is).
When you look closely at the 4-year media rating values (versus the moving average line) you can see that the brand is hitting its first media plateau in 3 years.
So what’s a brand to do in such a position?
First, it’s very difficult to squeeze additional rating points out of a 92 position, particularly when you’re a brand in an emerging sector such as Car Sharing. As a media analyst I’m actually quite surprised Uber managed to stay above 90 points for this long. All things being equal, Uber is due for a media decline.
Uber’s media strategy should be focused on rating preservation – stay above 85 points, 80 at a minimum. Closely monitor the sector as a whole to see if media attention is moving away from a broader Car Sharing Brands sector discussion (or the “sharing economy” in general). Monitor competitor rating positions, particularly Lyft, Zipcar and BlaBlaCar. And finally, don’t let media momentum go too far into the red. It’s okay if media momentum takes a breather when you’re generating 80+ rating points, but negative momentum will quickly undermine Uber’s current position and accelerate a rating decline.
Note that something similar happened to LinkedIn in the Internet Brands Sector. The brand was on an amazing trajectory that culminated in a 95 point position when the company when public in May 2011. Not only did the bottom fall out of the brand’s media rating, it took 3 years to climb back to its 2011 media position.
A quick view into Lyft’s current media position shows the brand is off -2 points or -3 percent at 67 for the April media cycle.
One of the bright spots in the Car Sharing Brands sector this month, BlaBlaCar is up +8 points or +16 percent at 49, a new rating high for the brand.
While we carefully monitor the media performance of 2,000+ brands, it’s hard not to notice a possible brand acquisition or consolidation in the Car Sharing Brands sector. I mentioned the need to monitor media ratings around Lyft and BlaBlaCar. And while BlaBlaCar (I still get a chuckle when I say that brand name) is pursuing a different business model then either Lyft or Uber, they’re aggressively expanding their geographic footprint along with growing their media voice — globally! They’re avoiding the North American market due to a poor fit with the brand’s carpooling approach. But BlaBlaCar has deep pockets and there are plenty of examples of off-shore brands pursing different business models in different geographies.
So here’s my rare non-media prediction: BlaBlaCar and Lyft join forces, which could put global pressure on Uber and ignite additional media coverage under Lyft.