Federal Express clearly needed to better communicate its broad service offering and reafﬁrm its position as the industry leader. It hired global design ﬁrm Landor in 1994 to create a new brand identity that would help reposition the delivery corporation.
For Landor, market research was key in producing an enduring and effective design. Landor and Federal Express assigned both their internal research groups to collaborate for a nine-month global research study. The study revealed that businesses and consumers were unaware of the global scope and full-service capabilities offered by FedEx, believing that the company shipped only overnight and only within the United States. Landor conducted additional research about the Federal Express name itself. It found that many people negatively associated the word “federal” with government and bureaucracy, and the word “express” was overused. In the United States alone, over 900 company names were employing this word.
On a more upbeat note for Federal Express, the research also revealed that businesses and consumers had been shortening the company’s name and turning it into a generic verb—as in “I need to FedEx a package,” regardless which shipper was being used. In addition, research questions posed to the company’s target audience conﬁrmed that the shortened form
of the name, “FedEx,” conveyed a greater sense of speed, technology, and innovation than the formal name. Landor advised Federal Express senior management to adopt “FedEx” as its communicative name—to better communicate
the breadth of its services—while retaining “Federal Express Corporation” as the full legal name of the organization.
Over 300 designs were created in the exploratory phase, ranging from evolutionary (developed from the original) to
revolutionary (altogether different concepts).The new visual identity and abbreviated company name that Landor designed allows for greater consistency and impact in different applications, ranging from packages and drop boxes to vehicles, aircraft, customer service centers, and uniforms.
Landor and FedEx spent a great deal of time and energy researching the marketplace, discovering how the Federal Express brand was perceived, where they needed to improve, and how to do it. This is a ﬁne example in which in depth preparation led to an iconic solution.