What's Inside?

How FedEx Found Its New Advertising Strategy By Looking Inward

October 30, 2018

FedEx advertising

Editor's Note: This guest post was contributed by Rajesh Subramaniam, who is EVP-CMO at FedEx Corp. 

At FedEx, we like to joke that we feel like the world’s largest startup. Not many businesses of our size still have their founder at the helm or have senior executives who got their start on the frontlines. That entrepreneurial mentality drives us to continuously innovate in anticipation of what’s next, which is critical in today’s dynamic business environment.

We’ve always operated beyond the norms of what’s expected for a shipping company, so when it came to the stories we wanted to tell in our new advertising campaign, we knew we couldn’t focus on traditional product and services. We had to think beyond the box to What We Deliver by Delivering. The answer? Possibilities. (Watch the TV spots in the campaign). 

In writing this blog post about our new campaign, I could have chosen to talk about the neuroscientists we consulted, our elevated objectives, or even our approach to digital transformation. But the strength of our story is inside FedEx, embedded in our culture. I’d like to tell you this story — a single example of how strong and deep our culture runs.

Recently, a package arrived at a FedEx Ground location with incomplete delivery information. Senior operations administrator Jorge Vasquez received the undeliverable package — containing a copper plaque for a World War II veteran’s grave. A U.S. Navy veteran himself, Jorge noted the name printed in raised letters on the plaque and contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs for information. He learned the man had served as a fighter pilot in the Pacific and was from a small mining town in Arizona. He spent the next week tracking down the package’s intended destination. Jorge got in touch with the town’s cemetery and shipped the plaque so they could place it on the veteran’s grave.

So like I said, we didn’t need to look far to communicate our purpose. FedEx is so much more than the number of packages we deliver. It’s what we actually deliver by delivering those packages that really makes the difference. When we deliver an e-commerce package just in time for the holidays, we’re actually delivering joy. When we deliver relief supplies to victims of Hurricane Michael, we’re really delivering hope. When we connect a farmer in Afghanistan to customers in the global marketplace, we’re expanding what’s possible for him and his family. That’s what we mean delivering possibilities.

These are the types of heart-warming real stories that we hear every day from our front lines. That’s why, for me, one of the most rewarding results of rolling out our new “Possibilities” campaign has been seeing the reaction of my colleagues around the world. They are thrilled to see the FedEx story shared in a way that’s authentic to their experiences. The way I look at it, we’ve successfully reached 425,000 of the most passionate brand advocates FedEx will ever have and left them newly inspired.

So take a look at the ads for yourself. You might be moved to tears by the journey of the child’s tortoise, making its way back to give ‘Comfort’ to her and the hare, or the story of an old wedding album delivering Italian ‘Memories’ to someone in America. And if you, too, are a marketer, embarking on your own journey to find your brand story, I’d encourage you to look inside for it, too.

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Photo: Oliver Holzbauer