FedEx and UPS Revisited

Back in early January, I wrote this post, comparing the promotion strategies of FedEx and UPS. My analysis criticized FedEx’s focus on foolish humor and commended UPS’s use of their Whiteboard concept.

This week I came across a “Makers+Breakers” piece in the February 11, 2008 issue of Forbes (yes, I am a little behind in my offline reading), touting FedEx as a smart buy. Why? Well, from January 31, 2007, through January 17, 2008, FedEx’s value dropped about 25%. The writer, Carrie Coolidge, blamed the economic downturn and rising fuel costs.

I didn’t necessarily buy it. As I mentioned yesterday, if the brand’s Paddlewheel is out of alignment, its value suffers. FedEx, in my humble opinion, is clearly misaligned.

So I did some checking of stock prices. For the 12-month period of March 30, 2007 – March 28, 2008, FedEx is down 18.75%, while UPS is up 1.51%. UPS’s better alignment has led to an increase in value.

But all is not lost for FedEx. Getting smart about selling who they are and what they do will go a long way to rebuilding what they have lost. They can start by using a quote from Ms. Coolidge’s article:

“FedEx’s business is a logistical miracle: 7.5 million shipments in 220 countries daily.”

That tells customers a lot more about their service than unfortunately named business executives and poseurs.

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One Response

  1. I can say that FedEx is getting smart about who they serve and are on their way towards rebuilding. My firm, Goal Centric, helped FedEx recently to create distinctive buyer and user personas that are guiding the continuous redesign of their web site as well as customer messaging. Although the economy has hurt them, I also agree that they realize the need to get smarter. This is happening. There are some hard working people rolling up their sleeves to get FedEx back on track. Like any company in this predictament, they need to get in alignment with their branding, sales, marketing, and services. A nice revisit and your points are on target!

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