Uber owner-operators have faced significant challenges in South Africa, Australia, the
United Kingdom and a multitude of other marketplaces. This can be attributed to the lack of
licensing, fee structure, employment practices and disruption of the existing public transport
sector. Consequences have included violence against owner-operators, legal challenges,
parliamentary enquiries and proposed regulatory mechanisms. As a result, owner-operator
drivers have faced a loss of income, danger to life and property, and therefore their
livelihood. These consequences however present an opportunity for owner-operators to
diversify to similar mobile applications and service providers such as Taxify. Branding
traditionally holds significant value for any organisation, this can be witnessed in the
significant marketing spend of established companies. However in this case, the lack of
vehicle branding presents brand equity and opportunity to cross-subsidise owner-operator
income. The lack of branding on Uber vehicles results in lack of formal attachment of owneroperators
to the Uber brand from a marketing point of view, which triggers the question, can
value be derived from not branding, rather than branding.
This study aims to propose the creation of entrepreneurial opportunity for Uber owneroperators,
by not branding. The study is qualitative in nature and makes use of a narrative
review methodology. The study proposed a conceptual framework, derived from literature,
illustrating how personal brand equity can be built by lack of branding. The value of the
research lies in the identification of entrepreneurial opportunity by not branding. Owneroperators
and application developers can utilise the conceptual model to pursue new
business ventures and diversify income streams, while still remaining independent and
relevant in the transport industry.
Papers Presented at the 2018 37th Southern African Transport Conference 9-12 July 2018 Pretoria, South Africa. Theme "Towards a desired transport future: safe, sufficient and affordable".