Uber struggling to maintain success in US market

Ride-sharing brand, Uber, appears resigned to continue to lose money in its home market, the United States. The losses have less to do with the string of PR crises that have plagued the company over the past few years, and more to do with stiff completion from major rival, Lyft.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as reported by Reuters, said: “The US is very, very competitive right now between us and Lyft, so I don’t see the US as being a particularly profitable market for the next six months…”

Following up on that surprise bluntness, a company spokesman said Uber expects to “break even” in some cities, but remain unprofitable overall.  This “overall” lack of profitability is being driven by poor showings both at home and in emerging Asian markets, where Uber continues to struggle. Add to that ongoing legal and operational disputes with certain key cities, like London, and it presents multiple problems for Uber.

Uber fans and investors hope Khosrowshahi is up to the task of navigating Uber through the rough waters initially created by the former CEO, Travis Kalanick, who aggravated both customers and employees with what some described as his “abrasive” attitude and leadership.

While Uber is built on a model that allows for massive losses while establishing business in a new market, people are unsure how well the company can maintain those losses in markets where they should be well-established. The concern is, why isn’t Uber still gaining ground in the United States?

Through its trailblazing clashes with local, state and federal regulators, Uber’s brand recognition soared. It was the classic American can-do story, a scrappy company Fighting the Man in order to deliver something its customers wanted. But that mythos proved untenable. After multiple negative headlines and lengthy battles, Uber was left financially strapped and dealing with market fatigue. Customers were less inclined to automatically prefer their brand over the competition.

That left a window open for Lyft, which had often been content to let Uber fight the legal battles, which remains a solid number two in the ride-share market. Now, though, sensing an opening, Lyft pushed hard, gaining ground as Uber’s leadership transitioned and the company slogged through one PR disaster after another.

Now, the playing field is growing more level. If Uber wants to get its operations in the States back on a profit-making basis, the company has to make some shifts in how it attracts and retains customers. The sooner, the better.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States

ronn_torossian Uber struggling to maintain success in US market

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.

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