Repositioning a brand can be all but impossible, especially for a decades old, entrenched brand that has become a verb as has Xerox. However, the company has needed to expand beyond its position in copiers for many years to achieve the growth shareholders expect of the company. The current repositioning challenge has fallen to Christa Charone, CMO since 2008.
In an article in Advertising Age, she acknowledges how difficult this is and how previous attempts have failed, mostly because the new position makes no sense to anyone who knows Xerox. As Ries and Trout famously told us in the 1970s (and since), it is easier to capitalize on what people already believe than to try to change their minds. For Xerox, this is not possible.
The good news is that if the new campaign eventually works and repositions Xerox, which now gets well over half its revenue from non-copier related services, the other downside noted by Ries and Trout, namely that someone else can step into the prior position is unlikely since the other copier companies (with the possible exception of Kyocera) are multifaceted companies as well.
Will Xerox be successful this time? Hard to say, but the campaign approach chosen, which is to tie their legacy to their future, may get ‘er done (as Larry the Cable Guy likes to say). Depends how much patience the company has for this monumental task.