Headquarters: Memphis, Tenn. Brand established: 1971 2005 advertising: $123.1 million 2006 Interbrand/BusinessWeek ranking: Not ranked in top 100 Brand value: $7 billion CoreBrand ranking: 50
STRENGTHS: Roth: The highly visible and successful integration of the Kinko’s retail network has demonstrated FedEx’s ability to stretch its own brand promise into new space. Its focus on innovative delivery models in Asia/Pacific markets and logistics integration demonstrates it has not taken its eye off the expansion of its core business as well. Gregory: The battle between FedEx and UPS couldn’t be tighter. Lucky for them such a rivalry keeps others out of the competition. FedEx’s Brand Power score was 75.5 in 2003 and 80.9 in 2006. Its brand equity has grown from 18.9% of market cap in 2003 to 19.8% today. This is tremendous growth, in the upper limits of what we’ve seen for being able to leverage the brand for maximum impact on stock performance. CHALLENGES: Ries: Its biggest potential problem is overextension. The Kinko’s purchase was probably a mistake. Roth: UPS is not sitting idly by.FedEx is refueling its brand this fall with a new round of commercials featuring Denny Hamlin, who drives FedEx car No. 11 in the NASCAR Cup Series. While Hamlin is setting his sights on becoming the first rookie to win NASCAR’s Nextel Cup title, in the FedEx TV spots he’s pushing a company that’s an old hand at communicating to b-to-b executives.
The commercials, five in all, refresh the “Relax. It’s FedEx” branding campaign that was launched in 2003. As with most every FedEx advertising campaign, the new spots are infused with humor. They connect Hamlin with his fans who write in letters asking simple, everyday questions about how he spends his time off the track.
Take the spot in which a racing rep reads a letter asking if Hamlin had any previous jobs before becoming a professional race car driver. Cut to Hamlin whipping a delivery cart through an airport, doing about 100 miles an hour as passengers sitting in back hang on for dear life. Each spot ends with the tagline “Every day is race day.” The commercials, which debuted in early September, are running on Fox, NBC, SPEED Channel and other cable networks.
“The message that every day is race day is a great attribute,” said Steve Pacheco, director of advertising for FedEx. The campaign “plays into the company’s characteristics because we race every day to get your packages delivered on time,” he said.
FedEx has had a longtime branding strategy of reaching executives during their down time, which often means while they’re chilling out in front of a sports event. “Sports programming is where people go to relax,” Pacheco said. “It’s rating-protected and puts up good numbers. The little bit of leisure time that [top executives] have, they spend watching quality sports.”
In addition to NASCAR, FedEx also uses the NFL and PGA as marketing vehicles. When the NFL season kicked off on NBC Sept. 7, one of the first commercial tosses was to a spot plugging FedEx’s family of companies—including FedEx Kinko’s, FedEx Ground, FedEx Express and FedEx Freight—and how each division can help small businesses.