Xerox overhauls brand image

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Centenarian technology company Xerox, famed for a Super Bowl campaign showing a monk copying—rather than transcribing—sacred manuscripts, is undergoing a face-lift to reflect the modern digital software and services brand it has become.

Indeed, the old-fashioned "copier company" and the even more recent "document company" now introduces a product or service every 11 days, said Richard Wergan, Xerox VP-worldwide brand advertising and marketing. About two-thirds of the company's revenue today comes from products and services launched in the last two years, he said; and services generated $2.5 billion in sales for the first three quarters of 2007, an 8% increase over the previous year.

"The brand is extremely strong, [but] the visual brand did not fully represent what Xerox is today," Wergan said. "It was a significant opportunity for the brand identity to play catch up with the brand."

To that end, the marketer's sleek new look features a lowercase "xerox" logo punctuated by a red ball with a triple-lined "X" slashed through the center, and it has added a rainbow of colors in the form of two-tiered waves to be used in marketing and communication materials. About the only thing that remains is the color red, which consumer research revealed was tightly associated with the brand in customer's minds.

Xerox worked with Omnicom Group brand consultancy Interbrand on the overhaul.

The brand review began two years ago with no definite changes in mind. In fact, the initial goal was simply to discover consumer's current global brand perception of the brand.

"Xerox didn't go into this saying, `Let's change it,' " said Maryann Stump, senior director-brand strategy at Interbrand. "The change was made through qualitative and quantitative research. And although the change is substantial, it happened for us in a very linear and almost incremental way."

Another reason to modernize was a bit of future-proofing. That is, the new identity "already has the capability to evolve over time," Wergan said. The red X sphere, for instance, will be important in mobile and Internet applications because it pops as a 3-D image and can spin and move.

Beth Snyder Bulik is a reporter with Advertising Age, a sibling publication of BtoB.

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