Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting Reamed

I was reading BusinessWeek online and found this article on the rebranding of Xerox; a little more reading led me to this article on the rebranding of FedExKinko's. Obviously, it must not be a super-great time to be in the copy machine business and both are trying to figure out how to hold on to customers.

Xerox rebranded in an attempt to refresh their brand in the minds of America and to get them to start thinking of Xerox as being technologically innovative rather than staid and established. The thing is--what has changed about black and white copiers in the past ten years? And has Xerox ever really made amazing color printers? According to BW, they have been cranking out new stuff: "two-thirds of Xerox's revenues in 2007 will come from products introduced in the last two years".

is dropping the Kinko's and changing their name to FedExOffice, which is funny, because everyone still calls it Kinko's. FedEx wants to cement in people's minds that they are not just about copies and shipping, they are about providing you with everything you need to "get things done."

It seems to me that neither one of these companies is really addressing the issue at hand.

I have worked in offices. Most of the time you don't need anything super fancy. But sometimes you need stuff that looks extra sharp to represent your office. You could go to a printing press, but they're super expensive and a lot of times what you need isn't big enough to require a large-scale press service. Your office admin can, of course, fiddle around with the office copier, but the results are almost always disappointing.

If you are a lone wolf (like me, the grad student), you also don't need a run of 5,000 prints. You just need some business cards or a mini portfolio on nice paper. "Go to Kinko's! . . . ahem . . . FedExOffice!" you say. Except everyone I know loathes and despises FedExKinko's. The service staff is often lazy, they frequently fumble your order, the prices can be outrageous, and the steps you have to take to get a few print outs from your flash drive can be ridiculously convoluted. I, personally, try to print everything I can on my HP. I don't care how many ink cartridges or reams of paper I have to buy. Anything has got to be better than going to Kinko's. Ahem. FedEx Office.

Ultimately, though, that is what people need: a decent way to get some nice-looking print materials to represent their office/themselves.

Most of the time, we can't do this on our own. I don't have a laminator, or a binder, and I have no clue how to calibrate a printer. The office admin shouldn't have to fumble with a piece of equipment the size of a small refrigerator and with the failure rate of a Yugo to print out a few tri-fold brochures or a flyer.


Well, I suppose FedExOffice could work on the real problem, which is not that people's imaginations are limited by the connotations of Kinko's, but rather that their desire is limited by shoddy service and difficult-to-manage ordering procedures.

Or Xerox could expand their thinking from merely building more big machines for offices to being a source for great mid-range printing for businesses . . . as an actual print-service provider.

Digital is great, but there is still something to be said for being able to hold something in your hand or seeing it realized in person.


AubidadedBallad said...

I now see exactly whats going with this world. If you say yes, the others say no, its a tough world out there in order to get ahead..
But, as long you stay up, keep your head up right, do your homework like the Mister that wrote this well written piece did.
Sooner or later, you'll have a plan and succeed, so its never too late to begin, start now! Don't procrastinate, get to organizing your life and you too will make it in the business world! :)
Xerox Ink

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