FedEx is set to integrate its communications and marketing functions under Jenny Robertson, effective at the start of next month.
Robertson, who was promoted to SVP of integrated marketing and communications in August, said the company has been looking at how the two groups can work better together.
Robertson has overseen the go-to-market part of marketing and all of communications, reporting to EVP and chief marketing and communications officer Brie Carere. As part of the integration, FedEx will move its brand experience marketing team and customer engagement management team under Robertson. Previously, the brand experience team reported to Carere and the customer engagement marketing team was under SVP Scott Harkins.
“[Harkins] is now going to focus on product marketing and what offerings we are giving our customers,” said Robertson. “[Carere] is responsible for our corporate strategy, pricing strategies, product development and customer service. So within her scope, we are consolidating our go-to-market functions under me.”
Three VPs will report to Robertson: Michele Ehrhart, VP of global comms; Monica Skipper, VP of global brand and reputation; and Randy Scarborough, VP of global customer engagement marketing.
Ehrhart will oversee global media director Bonny Harrison, global comms alignment director Holly Pate and global public affairs director Maury Donahue.
Skipper manages global brand citizenship director Adrian Pomi, global brand management director Lauren Doll, global brand sponsorships director Katherine Flee and global brand advertising and content orchestration director Jeff Maddock.
Scarborough oversees global engagement and integration marketing director April Britt, U.S. performance marketing director Michelle Bowman, commercial marketing engagement director Mike Schween and U.S. small business, retail and consumer marketing director Michelle Proctor.
“This brings together advertising, sponsorship, global citizenship and all of our digital advertising, search, customer comms, FedEx.com comms — all of it is under the same umbrella,” said Roberston.
FedEx has also formed an integrated planning team that will report to Scarborough. Robertson said that any time FedEx runs a major initiative that touches all three of the VPs’ groups, that team will oversee it and “ensure we are consistent and have the same messaging across all the teams.”
“We have different VP teams with different scopes, but we don’t have anyone looking across those teams, and we manage these initiatives holistically,” Robertson said.
FedEx is also consolidating all of its content production. It had separate personnel in communications, advertising and customer marketing.
“We are bringing all of them together to ensure that we have a cohesive message and we are all telling that same story and sharing resources, as well; it makes things much more efficient,” said Robertson.
FedEx’s consolidation efforts aren’t ending with its in-house team. The company has also put together an integrated agency group, bringing together firms working on creative, media buying and communications to ensure agency partners are on the same page.
FedEx’s external partners include Edelman on PR; BBDO on creative; OMD on media buying; Hawkeye on digital marketing; and Current Global on media for sponsorships and other programs.
“In the past, the comms team and brand teams did their own thing and we tried to make sure we put them together at the end,” said Robertson. “Now we will plan all together and then the teams will go out and execute in their channels.”
Robertson said there will be no layoffs or redundancies as a result of the decisions.
“We just collapsed some teams and brought them all together,” she said. “Everyone still has a place in the organization.”
Although the integrated team will not be formalized until February 1, Robertson said FedEx has tested the structure in recent initiatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to life opportunities for FedEx to better integrate its messaging and the way it talks about itself to the public, she explained. For instance, it has delivered essential items at holiday levels since last March.
“That was a time to talk about our people and what they were doing and how we were keeping them safe,” said Robertson. “It was also demonstrating FedEx’s impact on the economy and how we are keeping things moving and how we are there delivering essential items.”
Last year, FedEx also worked to change public perceptions that it is a b-to-b shipper.
“We have been making a lot of investments in our ecommerce capabilities and portfolio,” said Robertson. “Now people understand how we are a true ecommerce player.”
The holiday season, when customers added gifts on top of essential items, gave FedEx the opportunity to talk about the “power of its network” and how it is helping customers and managing their expectations, Robertson explained.
“At that point [in October], we brought together all of our teams and told them that we are going to face a holiday season like no other, and we have to get ahead of it with one message,” she said. “So we implemented a theme called the ship-a-thon.”
FedEx also used the integrated model in December when the company began delivering vaccines. This week, it rolled out a TV spot highlighting its work and the part it is playing to return life to normal.
In the ad, FedEx debuted a global tagline: “FedEx. Where now meets next.”
“We wanted to use the beginning of this new calendar year to roll out this new tagline and begin looking at what the future holds for us and our world,” said Robertson. “With that backdrop, we are launching this integrated team to tell this story of what’s next.”