Xerox: Navigating An Iconic Brand Toward A Strong Future

By Christa Carone, Chief Marketing Officer, Xerox Corporation

There are many reasons why I’m closely following what’s happening with Kodak these days.  They’re part of the Rochester, N.Y., community, where Xerox also has a large presence.  I have friends who work there and I’m rooting for them.  Kodak is now a Xerox competitor in the production printing market. I own a Kodak digital camera, and I really like it.  I grew up with the Kodak brand, respect the powerful nature of it, and cherish my Kodak moments.  And, as important, some recent news reports and blogs about Kodak reference Xerox’s story as an analogy.

I get that it’s easy to compare Xerox and Kodak considering that both companies were founded in Rochester, created new markets from proprietary technology, are well-known global brands, and faced critical “forks in the road” decisions.  Yet, it’s where the similarities end that lessons can be learned from the histories and futures of both companies.

When faced with our own “brink of bankruptcy” challenges in 2000, Xerox’s leadership pulled us off the ledge and paved the path for a sustainable future  — one that  benefits from our well-known strengths in document technology combined with a growing services business.  Our turnaround has become a well-read chapter in Xerox’s history, most notably as a Harvard Business School case study and in stories like Fortune’s Accidental CEO.

Like IBM, we made tough decisions to shed our consumer business – getting out of consumer inkjet printing and focusing solely on enterprise, small to large. With our eyes wide open to the trends in our traditional printing business, we’re doubling down on those markets that offer greater growth, like document services and business process and IT outsourcing.  Now, about half of our $22 billion in revenue comes from printing technology and half from outsourcing services – a healthy balance of two annuity-based businesses that, through Q3 2011, generated 17% earnings growth.

In fact, Xerox is now in places that you wouldn’t expect and participates in a $500 billion market.  We’re the folks processing automated toll transactions (think EZ Pass), managing call centers for major consumer brands, building electronic health record systems for large healthcare organizations, handling employee benefit programs, processing millions of government transactions for student loans, child support, Medicaid… Well I could go on, but let’s just say Xerox is behind the scenes simplifying the way work gets done in ways that go far beyond copying and printing. offers many more stories through the unique lens of our clients.  Of course, I’m slightly biased  — as I should be, right?  Want an outsider’s view…check out this recent story from Fast Company.

As you read news of Kodak and other businesses these days (and there’s a lot to keep up with), take a closer look at Xerox, hear what others are saying about us, and then determine for yourself how we’re doing.  In the meantime, we’ll keep taking pride in the longevity of our 50-year-old brand and the wisdom of recent strategic moves that will keep us around for a long time.

What do you think?

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  1. Doc Accamera January 9, 2012 - Reply

    This attempt to build Xerox’s brand at the expense of Kodak isnt even thinly veiled. How many 1000s of Xerox workers lost jobs as the co. outsourced work?

    • Christa Carone January 10, 2012 - Reply

      Thanks, Doc Accamera, for your comment. My post is meant to tell the transformation happening at Xerox that is the result of huge decisions related to the company’s strategic direction, decisions that have changed our business model and expanded our growth opportunities. There is an obvious tendency to compare Kodak and Xerox, and, as noted in the post, we’re rooting for our Kodak colleagues. However, those comparisons should be done through the lens not only of the companies’ pasts but also their futures, and the defining points that shape those futures. Much more to happen in both companies’ journeys. For me, it’s a privilege to help pave the path for Xerox.

      Christa Carone, CMO Xerox Corporation

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