In a world that increasingly values instant gratification, fast shipping becomes more and more important to consumers. In turn, Fedex has thrived in this digital commerce culture, and will likely continue to do so.
Connecting the World
Simply put, Fedex wants to connect the world and all of the people in it, and although you may simply think of Fedex as the service that sometimes drops off your packages, they’re much more than that.
In reality, the Fedex corporate structure features six distinct branches: Express, Ground, Freight, Services, and Logistics. While each of these operates within the reach of the Fedex brand, they all serve a different purpose and a different clientele. At its inception, Fedex saw a hole in the industry and worked to fill it; they haven’t stopped operating with that same intention ever since.
From Ideal to Implementation
When he was just an undergraduate student at Stanford in 1965, Fred Smith was assigned a paper in which he had to perfect an industry. This is when he first dreamed up what would eventually become Fedex—he wrote about a system that could solve urgent shipping needs.
Six years later, Fedex (originally named Federal Express Corp.) was founded. In the next decade, Fedex made an art of overnight delivery, acquiring its own aircraft and installing drop boxes on the street. Since then, the company has continued to seek out innovative ways to make the lives of both businesses and consumers simpler.
Today, Fedex truly is a means of connecting the globe, as they service more than 220 countries and territories. This fact is evidenced even further by the number of customs transactions they handle each year: more than 7 million.
Tight Competition in Transportation
Fedex has several major competitors in the delivery industry, but the largest by far is UPS. Founded in 1907, UPS certainly has more market share than Fedex, though they have declined in the last few years.
As a delivery service, Fedex also has the unusual situation of being in competition with the federal government, since the U.S. Postal Service has begun offering increasingly faster turnaround time on deliveries in partnership with private companies.
Sponsoring Speed and Performance
Attempting to draw a parallel between their company and the teams and events they sponsor, Fedex has thrown their weight (and their resources) behind the Williams F1 team for Formula One racing, and the French Tennis Open.
Fedex cites speed, teamwork, and precision as the shared qualities that led them to select these particular sponsorship opportunities.
Ducking Out of the Spotlight
In the early 2000s, Fedex sponsored Bill Maher’s show Politically Incorrect. That is, until Maher made comments criticizing then-President George Bush’s assertion that the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks had been cowards.
In response, Fedex (and other sponsors) dropped the show, and they don’t appear to have sustained any long-term damage in the process. Now, Fedex sits at number 89 on the Forbes list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands with a brand value of more than $8 billion. That’s several billion less than UPS, but still a major stake of the market share.
With nearly 50 years behind them, it’s hard to tell how Fedex will innovate next, but it’s certain that they’ll find a way to further simplify the lives of their clients.