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Three Questions You Need to Ask About Your Brand | Part Four

When Federal Express launched its service, it offered a clear point of difference from traditional mail delivery via the U.S. Postal Service: overnight delivery. As other providers of overnight delivery services appeared, the new competitors served as a new frame of reference. FedEx positioned itself as superior to them based on speed and dependability. This point of difference was reflected in its advertising slogan, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

While FedEx continues to be concerned about competitors in the overnight delivery category, some of its stiffest competition now comes from other forms of document transmission. For example, many documents that once would have been sent by overnight delivery can be faxed or e-mailed more quickly and inexpensively. FedEx’s “speedy delivery” point of difference is rendered meaningless when the frame of reference is expanded to include fax or e-mail. A new point of difference is required. Against this new frame of reference, FedEx could choose to differentiate on security, confidentiality, and attention-getting capability. This type of differentiation would be supported by FedEx’s heavily promoted tracking capabilities, which distinguish it not only from fax and e-mail, but from other overnight delivery carriers as well.