09th Jan 2017| by

Xerox. Rebooting their brand strategy.


For some time now Brands to life® have used Xerox as an example of a brand that has lacked the connection with customers that other functional yet emotionally driven brands (ie Apple) have successfully achieved.

So, we’re really interested to see what Xerox is up to now that it’s making a play to get its brand back on track by repositioning – or perhaps ‘rebooting’ its old communications platform in a new way, so that customers can once again clearly understand the Xerox brand and what it is they actually do.

A super fast summary

In the 70’s we understood Xerox. Experts in printers. In the Noughties, Xerox diversified and lost their way as a brand with new business services offerings confusing us about what business they were actually in. 2017, and they’re heading back to what they know by undiversifying (sort of) and rebooting some of the 70’s magic with a refreshed business direction and a much clearer brand communications platform focussed on a new take on what we know Xerox to be specialists in. Let’s take a quick look at the journey.


1975. Xerox & Brother Dominic

In the mid 70’s Xerox were on top of their game. They did one thing very, very well. They were all about providing the best technology (printers) to make printing fast and easy and accessible. It was a god damn miracle what Xerox could do for your working life and everybody knew it. Brother Dominic showed us how in a commercial debuting at Super Bowl in 75 and let the Xerox charge through the 80’s.

But reforms to corporate strategic directions change things. One would have to assume that a few decades back, Xerox saw that digital technology would affect a business focused on paper printing and copying and that they needed to do something about it. And so they diversified into areas such as business services that didn’t quite seem to make sense under the auspices of the existing Xerox brand. Even with the big marketing push ‘Work Can Work Better’ in 2015 that attempted to better explain to customers what Xerox’s could deliver to customers with regards to extended business services, at least from our perspective it only seemed to muddy the waters in terms of what the Xerox brand stood for. But on December 31, 2016 – Xerox formally split the business creating a standalone company for business services named Conduent, leaving Xerox as a document-technology company only – they say  ‘Innovating the way the world connects, communicates and works’. Xerox are now in the business of letting you ‘Set the page free’.

Brandchannel were able to interview Barbara Basney, Vice President Global Brand, Advertising & Media as Xerox who said…“This opportunity to introduce the next chapter for Xerox and introduce it to the new marketplace, is key and significant,”… “We need a communications platform that supports our corporate strategic direction and frames Xerox and puts the right light on it.” (full article at Brandchannel).


2017. Xerox & Brother Dominic – Together They set the Page Free

While the original ad helped a Monk easily duplicate 500 copies of his handwritten manuscript, in the 2017 version, modern Brother Dominic can do so much more; copy the original into a number of formats, automatically translate it into 35 languages and shoot it around the world to all sorts of screen devices. A modern take on a miracle perhaps?


Brands to life® are watching to see if Basney and her team can pull off this brand reboot and what the rest of their launch campaign will look like when it rolls out. Will the innovators of printers become innovators in digital document technology? When you ask someone to “Xerox” a page in the future will it mean reaching millions of people rather than photocopying a piece of paper a few hundred times? If they can ‘Set the page free’ in a truly innovative and emotionally engaging way we’ll need give up using Xerox as our example of a more cold, functional brand in our propitiatory brand planning tool – The Brand Character – homework. We’ll be more than happy to have to do so.

Good luck Xerox.


By Anna Rogers
Anna is the Managing Director at Brands to life®, an award-winning branding agency that creates memorable and authentic brand experiences.  With over 25 years in the communications industry,Anna is focused on the emotional connection between brands and people. Launching or relaunching brands, making them relevant again, helping brands catch up to and surpass the competition or just breathing some new life into brands. Refining brand strategy to solve problems and drive growth for businesses is what gets Anna up each day. Usually way to early.