Uber wants people to like it more, and it’s poached one of Apple’s rising marketing stars to fix its battered image.
On Tuesday, Uber announced that it has hired Bozoma Saint John, the former head of consumer marketing for Apple Music, who stole the show at Apple’s development conference last year, to be Uber’s new Chief Brand Officer.
Saint John has the hard task of turning Uber into a brand people love as much as Apple.
“Quite frankly, what has happened in the past is nothing that I can control but I do think there is a real opportunity for the future of Uber and what the vision is going to be,” Saint John told Business Insider in an interview Tuesday morning. “Having a real seat at the table to be able to do that is really important at this moment in time.”
Saint John’s success
Saint John is a marquee hire for the company that has struggled to tell its story and landed in a mountain of trouble as a result. In January, more than 200,000 customers deleted their accounts after public backlash over its actions during an immigration-ban-related taxi strike. Many of those customers then turned to the friendlier-image facing Lyft, Uber’s main rival in the US.
When asked what she thinks Uber brand is today, Saint John said simply there isn’t one.
“It’s a magical product,” Saint John said. “People love to use it.”
That isn’t the same though as knowing the story of the company and what it stands for — and that’s what Saint John is tasked with telling.
To start, she said one of the most powerful parts of Uber’s story is the people and the drivers that are the soul of company. Part of her job will also be to represent the company in who she is and be out there to tell its story — an image refresh the company could need given the latest cover from Fortune was about whether its CEO was an “a**hole”.
“It’s grown so quickly in such a short amount of time — and leadership and others have been so focused on growing the business — that this very moment is about changing the image of Uber and crafting what that brand story is. That hasn’t been done yet,” Saint John said.