Xerox gets positioning right

The marketing folks at Xerox clearly understand the importance of consistency and repetition in positioning effectively. By positioning, I mean the mental space that you can “own” with an idea that has compelling meaning to the recipient. It’s in this mental space where an important benefit and the customer’s most important need meet, and hopefully stick.

Xerox is claiming the “simplify how work gets done” position, and it is likely to stick. Consistency and repetition are the keys to claiming a position and giving it staying power. Xerox is using the theme consistently and repeatedly in TV advertising and deep into its web site.

In press releases, the “About” section’s first sentence is: “Since the invention of Xerography more than 75 years ago, the people of Xerox have helped businesses simplify the way work gets done…”

You’ve probably seen Xerox’s ads on TV that are repositioning – this is a different kind of positioning – the copier company as a provider of outsourced services in human resources, customer care, finance & accounting, document management, health care and transportation.

The brilliance of Xerox’s positioning strategy is that it tells you something you didn’t know about the company (Xerox does a lot more than sell copy machines; i.e., the repositioning of the company), and more importantly, it communicates the reason you should care; i.e., “Xerox simplifies how your work gets done.”

Whether Xerox’s “simplify” position is optimum is not the point of this blog. In fact, a great positioning statement that is not consistently repeated is far less effective than one that is consistently repeated. Based on this criteria, Xerox’s positioning strategy knocks it out of the ball park.

Go to the Xerox home page (http://www.xerox.com/) and you’ll find an execution of its positioning statement: “How can Xerox simplify your business in ways you might not expect?” Due to its position in the upper left hand corner and graphic treatment – it’s different than seven other promotional boxes for the services – you read it first. Here is the home page:

xerox

Of the seven outsourcing services, only healthcare uses “simplifying” in its short statement on the home page. The others explain how they simplify the way work gets done with a statement tailored for each service offering.

I was surprised to discover how well Xerox is executing it positioning strategy. Many B2B technology companies fail to consistently repeat their positioning strategy across all media from TV advertising to web sites to public relations to e-mail marketing to internet advertising (Google Adwords and SEO), as well as other means of marketing. Those that can afford TV advertising rarely have consistency between the TV message and the message on their web site.

Xerox is, by far, the best example of consistent, repeated execution of the same idea – simplify how work gets done – over and over and again. On the web site, if you click on any of the seven services provided by Xerox, they say the same thing in clear, straight forward language. Note that while Xerox repeats its positioning statement almost verbatim for some services content, it’s adapted for others. Here’s what you’ll find:

Human Resources

Did you know Xerox is the 2nd largest benefits and pensions administrator globally? It’s just one of the surprising ways Xerox is helping companies simplify how work gets done

Customer care

Did you know Xerox has 175 customer care centers globally, staffed with over 46,000 agents? It’s just one of the surprising ways Xerox is helping companies simplify how work gets done

Finance & Accounting

Did you know Xerox has over 24,000 professionals operating in over 90 global service centers? It’s just one of the surprising ways Xerox is helping companies simplify how work gets done

Document Management

Did you know Gartner positions Xerox as a leader in the 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant for managed print services? It’s because Xerox finds surprising ways to help simplify how work gets done

Healthcare

Did you know Xerox offers services that touch two out of every three insured lives in the U.S.? It’s because Xerox has surprising ways to help every area of the healthcare industry simplify how work gets done

Transportation

Did you know Xerox ranks #1 as a provider of worldwide transportation services to governments? It’s because Xerox has proven solutions to help simplify the way the world moves

I have evaluated more than 100 B2B enterprise technology company web sites in the last year. Xerox is by far and away the best when it comes to consistency and repetition. There is no close second. More impressive, you hear the same message on TV. For anyone who wants to improve their positioning effectiveness, use the Xerox as a model, and remember – consistency and repetition are the key to claiming a position and giving it staying power.