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A Xerox beyond copy machines?

The Xerox WorkCentre 5790 MFP.

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: Even in the digital age, we're still using paper. And sometimes, we need multiple versions of what's on that paper. So we Xerox it. I'm sorry, we copy it. But apparently that little name-drop isn't enough for the company that is synonymous with copying. This week, Xerox will launch its largest advertising campaign in decades -- to let all of us know that it's about more than just makin' copies.

Marketplace's Adriene Hill reports.


Adriene Hill: Xerox -- like Google, FedEx and even Tivo -- is a company name turned verb. As in, "let me just go Xerox these expense reports." Name recognition like that might seem like a marketers dream, but it's actually a bit of a rub for Xerox: Copying just isn't as sexy or relevant as it used to be.

Christa Carone is with the company.

Christa Carone: We understand that there is pretty entrenched perceptions of Xerox in the printing or the copier space.

Carone says the current brand perception is useful. It opens doors. Xerox tries to get people to recognize it now provides all sorts of back office services, like scanning and document management. Earlier this year, Xerox acquired Affiliated Computer Services in a more than $6 billion deal.

Angele Boyd: They're putting their money where there mouth is.

Angele Boyd is an analyst with IDC. She thinks Xerox could pull off a brand makeover and the marketing campaign will help.

Boyd: Too often, companies make the mistake of assuming "if we build it, they will come."

But branding consultant Rob Frankel isn't convinced. He says Xerox's past attempts at transformation haven't worked all that well.

Rob Frankel: Advertising will raise brand awareness, but if people don't understand why they should care about the brand, then it's going to fail.

He thinks there are a couple hurdles for Xerox: It's got to convince people it does more than make copiers. It also has to explain its new services and convince potential clients that it does them best. That's a tall order for any marketing campaign.

I'm Adriene Hill for Marketplace.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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They are also cutting out 2500 jobs at Xerox, in the United States, adding to the growing unemployment line.

I don't care what company FedEx's my packagesm and I don't care if it's delivered by someone on a Jet-Ski, wearing Rollerblades while carrying a Taser.

If a company makes something so good that they enter the collective consciousness for that product, that's the reward (and the price) of their success. That they want to throw bad money after good to try to image a name they've already all-but-lost to trademark dilution, well, that's just proof they've jumped the shark.

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