Lyft is joining the ranks of companies investing in social responsibility and distinguishing their brands by asserting their values. The ride-sharing app recently provided free rides to students attending March for Our Lives rallies and it partnered with senior living services startup, Cubigo, to use Lyft’s API to simplify scheduling and receiving transportation for seniors.
Lyft’s co-founder, John Zimmer, says the company wants to “figure out how to use what we do to help effect change.” The company is also exploring ways to tackle racial discrimination following the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man in Sacramento, California.
Lyft’s social responsibility moves are a far cry from the actions its rival, Uber, took last year. During the immigration ban protests in February 2017, Uber sought to capitalize on the moment by turning off surge pricing for trips to New York’s JFK Airport. That consequently sparked the #DeleteUber protest, which led to over 200,000 people deleting their Uber accounts in outrage. Unsurprisingly, Uber debuted on The Harris Poll’s annual Reputation Quotient study at #76.
Lyft’s latest efforts are in keeping with the trends The Harris Poll gleaned from the 2018 RQ survey, which show that consumers value brands that stand by their values, build deep community relations and take active roles in solving societal problems that the government can’t or won’t solve.
The Harris Poll’s CEO, John Gerzema, called this “a movement of ‘Big Ideals’ where companies are rising above politics to focus on a pressing social challenge whether it be healthcare, transportation, or education.”
While Zimmer insists the company is not an activist organization, Lyft still wants to highlight “having obvious ethical values.” The company is clear on taking a stance on gun violence, and gender and racial equity. “If we disagree with the policy we’re going to be transparent about it and we’re going to explain why,” Zimmer said.
Since the beginning of this year, we have seen companies leading The Harris Poll’s 2018 RQ list make significant commitments to corporate social responsibility. From Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway teaming up to provide affordable healthcare to employees, to The Walt Disney Company donating part of its profits from Black Panther to charity.