Creating Brand Names for Lyft

Creating Brand Names for Lyft

Just weeks before their 2019 IPO to become the first ride-hailing company to go public, Lyft came to Lexicon Branding for help with six naming projects. 

Lexicon’s philosophy is that effective brand names go beyond just getting attention. They create anticipation. A name must first give the new idea power, and then begin the process of helping consumers to think differently, to open their minds to the suggestion that the new offering just might be better. To achieve those goals, names must first be accessible. Lyft’s drivers and riders come from diverse cultural backgrounds and speak many languages. We turned to our global WorldBrand® network of in-country linguists to conduct language and cultural evaluations on all candidate names to help ensure any names Lexicon created would be easy to understand and ready to travel the world.

While one project continues to remain under wraps at this time, here are the stories behind five of the Lyft naming projects that Lexicon undertook last year.

Rider Membership Program: Lyft Pink

Lyft needed a name for their rider membership program designed to increase both ride frequency and rider loyalty. The new monthly membership provides Lyft riders a discount on rides while also offering an elevated ride experience. Leveraging existing brand equity, Lexicon created the brand name Lyft Pink. This brand name reflects the light-hearted and fun tone of the Lyft brand, for a solution that will remain relevant even if the specific benefits of the program change.

Ride Access Program: LyftUp

Lyft was creating a brand platform to expand access to essential transportation by providing free or discounted rides to job interviews, medical facilities, polling locations, and connecting with critical resources after natural disasters. To capture the inherent aspiration and positivity of the platform, Lexicon created LyftUp, evoking a sense of upward movement, optimism, and collective improvement. LyftUp serves as a rallying call to inspire change while charting a bold new path to help empower communities.

Driver Debit Card: Lyft Direct

Lyft set out to create a payment solution that would unlock enhanced financial benefits for their drivers. This new online bank account and debit card would help make the gig economy more profitable for drivers. Lexicon focused on creating a brand name centered around ease of use: Lyft Direct. The meaning of direct as both a noun and a verb supports efficiency, instant access, and putting drivers in control of their finances.

Driver Loyalty Program Tiering: Silver, Gold, Platinum

As a first step in naming the tiers of Lyft Rewards, Lyft’s new driver rewards program, we thoroughly reviewed loyalty programs from other transportation and hospitality industries, including airlines, hotels, banks, and lifestyle brands. We applied those insights to create a simple, natural, and coherent tiering structure around three basic precious metals: Silver, Gold, Platinum. When it comes to tiering, we typically recommend transparency over distinctiveness. Lexicon research confirmed that these labels efficiently and intuitively signal the three reward levels, and drive interest and excitement to achieve the highest Platinum level, while not making those at the lowest Silver level feel inadequate.

Service Hubs: Lyft Driver Centers

Lyft is making a $100 million commitment to create a network of service hubs where Lyft drivers can get fast, low-cost vehicle maintenance. For this program, which is driver-focused and less visible to a larger audience, Lexicon suggested that using a more functional and descriptive name would be best. Easy to pronounce and process, while offering a degree of uniqueness without losing relevance, and putting drivers first, we created Lyft Driver Centers.

The Lexicon Difference

This diverse set of naming projects highlights the breadth of Lexicon’s approach across evocative and descriptive nomenclature, tiering, and brand architecture. Given the tight deadline imposed by Lyft’s IPO date, these projects also demonstrate the benefit of a truly integrated, end-to-end naming agency solution. Lexicon uniquely incorporates the components necessary to effectively create memorable brand names in a short amount of time: multiple small creative teams, in-house trademark clearance, global linguistic and cultural evaluations, and insightful consumer research

On March 29, Lyft went public, to the tune of $22 billion.