No. 32: Lyft off

Fast Company - - Contents -

With Uber busy sav­ing face, Melissa Waters em­pha­sizes Lyft’s com­mit­ment to so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Melissa Waters

Vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing, Lyft

Last year, ride-hail­ing com­pany Lyft dif­fer­en­ti­ated it­self from bad-pub­lic­ity mag­net Uber by play­ing up its so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity. Melissa Waters, who joined Lyft in 2016 from Pan­dora, over­saw a quirky brand cam­paign last Oc­to­ber with Jor­dan Peele and Tilda Swin­ton pi­lot­ing a space cap­sule and re­mind­ing rid­ers that “it mat­ters how you get there.” Waters also launched a “Round Up and Do­nate” cam­paign, giv­ing Lyft rid­ers the op­tion to round up their fare to ben­e­fit any of a dozen char­i­ties, from Black Girls Code to the USO; since May 2017, more than 770,000 peo­ple have con­trib­uted more than $5 mil­lion. Over the past year, the com­pany ex­tended ser­vice to 54 ad­di­tional Amer­i­can cities, dou­bled its driv­ers to 1.4 mil­lion, pro­vided rides to 92% more pas­sen­gers (23 mil­lion), and sur­passed $1 bil­lion in an­nual rev­enue.

Why was the Jor­dan Peele/tilda Swin­ton ad right for Lyft? For this spot, we fo­cused on the driv­ers. We’ve worked to treat them right since day one. We were the first to im­ple­ment in-app tip­ping, same-day pay­ments, low-cost car rentals.

You’ve been ex­pand­ing your brand partnerships re­cently. Can you de­scribe some of the big­gest? With Delta we’re [of­fer­ing] an end-toend ex­pe­ri­ence where trav­el­ers can get off a plane and get a ride eas­ily, while [earn­ing] points [for Delta miles]. With Taco Bell we’re try­ing to ex­tend the night with Taco Mode [a fea­ture within the Lyft app that al­lows pas­sen­gers to get a free taco]. And with Dis­ney we’re part­ner­ing on the Min­nie Vans [Min­nie Mouse–themed vans at Dis­ney re­sorts]. These in­tro­duce Lyft to peo­ple who hadn’t heard of us or tried us yet.

Why did Lyft de­cide to do­nate $1 mil­lion to the ACLU in Jan­uary 2017 after Pres­i­dent Trump or­dered travel re­stric­tions? [It] felt like a threat to our com­mu­nity, a threat to our driv­ers. We’ve al­ways fo­cused on do­ing busi­ness the right way.

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