Xerox wants its business-to-business customers to fully understand what the company can do for them today—several years into its transition as a provider of business services rather than just printers and copiers.
So the iconic brand is launching a B2B marketing campaign this weekend during ESPN’s coverage of the US Open tennis tournament, one of its longstanding partnerships. The tagline—”Work Can Work Better”—aims to help B2B customers realize Xerox’s business process services can help them sort through the cacophony of digital technologies, with workflow solutions that can optimize the possibilities coming at them from every angle.
The humorous TV commercial in the “Work Can Work Better” campaign is set to “Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me,” the 1969 hit by Harry Nilsson, depicting a business executive who is trying to navigate this thicket. “Everybody” indeed is coming at him with phrases and concepts that are all too recognizable these days, including “internet of things,” “virtual reality” and “big data.”
“That’s what’s on the minds of our clients today—not just all the new technology choices and capabilities, of which there are more every day, but how to apply them to address their needs and put technology in the service of the humans who use it,” Xerox CMO John Kennedy told brandchannel. “That’s why we’ve taken a different story line and approach in the campaign.”
The campaign launches with the 30-second TV spot, which will air Sunday during the broadcast of the tennis tournament on ESPN channels and on business cable networks. The campaign also includes print, online and outdoor ads—including some tennis-themed efforts—and a redesigned website.
Business services now make up about two-thirds of the nearly $20 billion in annual revenues for Xerox, which of course made its mark a half-century ago with its copiers. Kennedy joined the company last July after serving as vice president of global business services for IBM. He discussed the market opportunity for Xerox and the campaign’s goals with brandchannel:
brandchannel: What are the big picture opportunities and challenges for Xerox?
John Kennedy: Xerox is an interesting brand because it’s got almost universal name recognition, but the brand itself hasn’t kept up with the degree to which our business has evolved. We’re one of the leading companies in business process services, and it’s the lion’s share of our revenues. So we’ve been on a strategy of educating the world about us the past five or six years.
bc: How does the new campaign represent the next step?
Kennedy: It’s significant for a couple of reasons. First, it really begins to assert more of a point of view around client issues and topics that are on the minds of our clients and prospects.
There’s a lot of debate today around the progress we’ve seen or failed to see around technology. But rather than having that debate, we think what’s missing is more discussion around the nature of these problems and the intersection of the human being with technology. That’s something Xerox actually has always understood from the beginning of our technology.
And whereas past efforts referenced our printer heritage—”you may know us as one thing, but we are something else”—now we’re identifying a set of truths and beliefs, very important threads that really bring the company together around our expertise and the value we create in the marketplace.
The campaign is fundamentally about improving the flow of work for our clients and helping them address those gnarly jams; we’ve already shown a lot of passion for fixing jams, starting with paper jams. Now there are customer jams and benefit-processing jams. People would like the operation to flow better.
bc: What are the campaign’s other elements besides the TV advertising?
Kennedy: It’s a multidimensional effort but it does include our sponsorships. The US Open starts this week and we’re a sponsor, so we have a significant media buy for the next several weeks. It made sense to make that relationship an anchor for the campaign. We’re also hosting a lot of clients during the next three weeks.
And we are launching four 15-second TV commercials, vignettes in four of our businesses that take the perspective of real people. They’re quirky and funny and show the value that Xerox creates. Our print ads describe quantifiable business outcomes from working with Xerox in a variety of industries.
bc: Is there also an employee-enagagement aspect?
Kennedy: Yes, we are using this as a mechanism to drive employee engagement as well. It’s imperative that we do that. A lion’s share of our employees have been with us for less than six years. We were a document-technology company, and then six years ago by virtue of acquiring the ACS business-services company, we grew in size dramatically. So a majority of our employees are still relative newcomers to Xerox.
It’s imperative that we identify ideas and beliefs that can play a unifying role and help all 130,000 employees find a better connection with the company and create a bridge to help them find their own way to express what we’re about.
bc: Of course this is a B2B campaign and that’s where your business is, but what roles do consumers play in this effort?
Kennedy: Xerox is a famous brand, and I think we aspire to be a brand that’s appreciated beyond our core buying audience. It has a significant historical role, but that is purely secondary. Our core target is senior business decision-makers.