Technically, field research is the collection of information outside a laboratory, library or workplace setting, but I am here to talk about how significant it is for businesses especially today with plentiful competition all around.

Let me quote a case study here to make my point evident.
A company called Federal Express Corporation came into shipping business in 1973, delivering only letters within the USA with single delivery time. After 20 yrs, the company started shipping packages and freight to 186 countries. WOW! But by then, it was not alone, a number of competitors came to the fore making this industry driven by price.
And as expected, Federal Express began losing the market share due to high priced services. So, to regain its position in the delivery industry, it engaged global design firm Landor in 1994. With the very professional understanding, Landor went ahead with a global research study for next nine months in collaboration withFederal Express internal research groups.

  • People were unknown about full-service international capabilities offered by FedEx.
  • It was believed that the company shipped only overnight and only within the United States.

Another study was conducted regarding the Federal Express name itself.

  • People negatively associated the word “federal” with government and bureaucracy.
  • The word “express” was overused, over 900 company names were already using this.
  • The short form, “FedEx,” delivered a feeling of speed, technology, and innovation in a finer way than the full name.

So, Landor advised Federal Express senior management to use “FedEx” as its popular name, retaining “Federal Express Corporation” as the legal name of the organization.
After rigorous design exercise, the company got its new logo and a short nickname that allowed it to have better branding impact ranging from packages, drop boxes to vehicles, aircraft, customer service centers, and uniforms.

So the time and energy spent on researching by Landor and FedEx were worth it. It really helped the brand to understand the scope of improvement and how they can achieve it.
What do we take home from this-
Field research not only helps in understanding a problem but also in monitoring or evaluating policies and programs that will make it possible to work towards a solution thus puts you in contact with a situation that can open your eyes and enable you to initiate new lines of thinking.

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