Xerox’s CMO: Why ‘The Document Company’ had to go

The Document Company isn’t closing up shop, but Xerox Corp. has decided changes in its business makes this the right time to shred its former corporate signature.

After 10 years spent developing one of the most recognizable tag lines

in the IT industry, Xerox last week unveiled a new logo and what it calls a “”capabilities line,”” which emphasizes its technology, document management and consulting services strengths. Also gone is the digital “”X”” that Xerox used to communicate its transition beyond the copier space.

Pipeline spoke recently with Xerox chief marketing officer Diane McGarry to explain why a simple “”Xerox”” is all the company needs.

Pipeline: Ten years is a long time to invest in a brand strategy. What precipitated this change?

Diane McGarry: Our research showed us we’re way past digital, we own the document space and have for quite some time. It was time. It was time to move to a simple, powerful, “”Xerox”” which has wonderful brand equity around the globe to also talk about who we are and what we do — technology, document management and consulting services.

Pipeline: “”The Document Company”” was broad enough that it described where you were in the document management space. With just “”Xerox,”” where else are you trying to position yourselves?

DM: For the last three years, we’ve had ads with simply “”Xerox”” standing behind our customers, if you will, and our customers telling a business story about what we’ve done through that, how we’ve helped them do great work. In two lines, what we’ve tried to describe in each of those customer solutions is enough information that they will want to find out more about the case study. Each of them shows something more interesting than the last, whether it’s offering DocuShare capabilities for NASA to share information about the Mars robot — does anybody know Xerox did that? It’s in a couple of powerful lines, connected with a recognizable brand — if we can tell our story about where we’re headed to the future, this is what we want people to know. Customers already give us documents as our space, and consulting services is something that’s a challenge for us to make sure our customers know that this is what we do.

Pipeline: What kind of research did you use?

DM: We use Brand Asset Valuator, which is a well-known brand assessment tool, and have used that for the last dozen years, basically to assess what our brand is. Plus there’s Interbrand, Fortune surveys, those kinds of things, which give us our customer research information. You know, the Document Company is an intellectual link but the brand is really an emotional touch. We felt that it was time, since we offer the industry’s deepest and broadest portfolio of technology and services, it’s time to make sure this very complex message is simplified for our audience.

Pipeline: There used to be a campaign asking media and others not to use “”Xerox”” as a verb, as in, “”I’ll xerox that.”” Do you still have that challenge?

DM: This is very important to us. You’ll see us do trademark protection advertising a couple of times a year. You brand everything, and if your name is associated with a verb, as ours sometimes is, you can lose your trademark. The important thing is to keep that special, powerful, important brand of Xerox.

Pipeline: How much harder is it to market Xerox into new areas when it’s had such success in the copier and printer space?

DM: Well, I think that has always been our challenge. Xerox equals copiers 30 years ago. Ten years ago, Xerox equals documents and we were the Document Company. Going forward, we’d like Xerox to equal technology, document management and consulting services. For us, it’s about a lot more than just technology. It’s about understanding the customer’s business problems, understanding the worker/productivity issues and understanding how technology, process and people can help to increase productivity and decrease costs.

Pipeline: A lot of people have lauded IBM for successfully marketing its Global Services team. How do you differentiate yourselves from that?

DM: We’re after a different space. We’re after the document-intensive business processes. Customers small and large spend millions and millions of dollars on technology, and are now looking for a return on their IT investment. We have teams of people that can go in and do an office document study to assess the technology that’s used, the devices that are used and make recommendations on how to improve. Not only efficiency, but to get better return on their IT investment, whether that’s for copying or scanning, e-mailing or printing.

Pipeline: What are the most appropriate channels to reach that audience?

DM: There has to be some awareness, and that’s through the commercials and the ad spots, the branding campaign. Those get us permission to play. People will hear about us, know about us and want to hear more. But we also have a large global sales and service organization. When we’re selling to selling to the large or medium-to-large enterprise, these are all direct account relationships. They’re supported by a very large teleweb centre in Canada and we also go to market with a cadre of partners in North America. We also have corporate resellers and dealers. So what we’ve tried to do is have a low-cost distribution method for our small to medium business, but a very educated and direct sales and service force that understands how to speak to CIOs and CEOs about their business problems.

Pipeline: So you’re almost advertising through them.

DM: Right. The advertising and the commercials drive the awareness. People, the process and the technology — how we cover the market — really drives our coverage and our consideration, basically. The skill of our salespeople is basically how we win.

Comment: pipeline@itbusiness.ca

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