In January 2002, Xerox commenced the final leg of a more than two-year long global race to break down barriers in the printing and graphic arts industry – with heavy emphasis on the launch of its latest breakthrough product: the DocuColor iGen3 Digital Production Press.
An entirely new and revolutionary printing press, the iGen3 is based on proprietary technology and is the result of a seven-year, $1 billion investment. The press uses high-tech xerography that adds 21st century innovations to printing with quality that rivals offset – a traditional print technology that has barely changed in more than 200 years.
The challenge: To strengthen relationships and develop increased awareness of Xerox among a universally skeptical commercial printing and graphic arts audience of analysts, journalists and customers who believe that xerography is acceptable for office copying, but that offset is essential for serious printing. Along with the launch of iGen3, Xerox also needed to continue the buzz about its entire portfolio of digital print presses – aimed to serve print shops and agencies of all sizes.
The opportunity: At a time when Xerox was rejuvenating itself as a company, it had an ambitious product portfolio poised to revolutionize the industry. The timing was such that, if done right, Xerox could capitalize on a turning point in a hotly contested competitive environment – where a transition from traditional offset printing to digital printing was at the center of debate. It was an environment in which companies entrenched in traditional methods faced increasing competition from digital players like Xerox.
Additionally, a stronger link between Xerox and the graphic arts industry would extend Xerox’s abilities “beyond the box” and prove the company’s commitment to the industry and its customer base.
External target audiences included top-tier graphic arts and printing industry publications in North America, Europe, Latin America and various developing market countries; printing industry analysts in Europe and North America; and Xerox customers worldwide – particularly those involved in the “Premier Partner” program.
At the beginning of the campaign and throughout the year, a full coverage analysis of Xerox and its competitors was conducted in conjunction with editor polls. The research found that Xerox’s competitors enjoyed strong coverage and were positioned as credible leaders in the industry. Xerox’s research efforts provided input on its communications strategy, tested messages, obtained initial product feedback and garnered proof points for use in future PR materials.
 Based on the objectives, research findings, and challenges faced, a three-pronged plan was devised and implemented and referred to as “RED”:
· Relationship building with key media/industry influencers in integral countries
· Educate vital audiences, including potential customers, about Xerox’s digital print press portfolio and business opportunities
· Demonstrate Xerox’s color expertise through knowledge-sharing opportunities and by highlighting product capabilities
Two of the company’s major trade show events centered on a “steal the show” campaign at both IPEX and Graph Expo. The IPEX strategy was to position Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO of Xerox as an industry expert and thought leader in the printing community. The intent was for Mulcahy to address the state of the industry and relate Xerox’s product portfolio to customer and technology trends.
The Graph Expo approach placed Anne Mulcahy with a high-level panel of CEOs and business leaders to discuss today’s economy and how to make money when times are tight. This was a dynamic two-way discussion between the panelists and the audience.
The IPEX event resulted in: more than 600 Xerox European customers, press, analysts and IPEX participants in attendance; 117 print hits around the world; and good market seeding for iGen3 order taking
The Graph Expo featured a prestigious panel moderated by Lou Dobbs, CNN Moneyline and included: Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor; Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO, Xerox; Barb Pellow, distinguished professor, RIT; Lester Wunderman, “father of direct marketing;” and Stephanie Streeter, president and CEO, Banta Corporation.
Results include a standing room only audience of nearly 1000 press, analysts, customers and show
attendees; created huge buzz at the show – it has become the “must-see” event; 37 coverage hits with
more to come.
In addition to the major tradeshow activities, Text 100 and Xerox held three exclusive events to continue the momentum built between the large events at IPEX and Graph Expo. The events brought together an international community of press and analysts at Xerox’s headquarters in Stamford, CT, and research labs and facilities in Rochester, NY. The events were: the Worldwide Corporate Consultant’s Briefing; International Editors’ Day; and Research and Lab Tours – a behind the scenes, exclusive tour of Xerox’s research facilities. These platforms enabled Xerox executives to outline strategic plans, communicate direction and gain insight from international community.
Text 100 coordinated a three-city media tour with 12 publications was held in the U.S. in June and placed a selection of by-lined articles on behalf of Xerox.
Xerox and Text 100 also coordinated with various regional agencies internationally to execute a broad spectrum of PR activities, from media and consultant relations to speaker placement and event support.
Xerox and Text 100 also integrated key customer activities involving Xerox Premier Partners – a core group of international early adopters willing to be evangelists of digital print technology and Xerox. Activities consisted of industry seminars and invitations to key events.
Within the first month of order taking in Europe and North America more than 100 orders were placed for the iGen3, which has a list price of more than US $500,000. Overall, Xerox wowed editors, consultants and customers who sat up and took notice of the company’s position in the industry.
Hundreds of one on one press meetings worldwide, several major press conferences, a three-city media tour with 12 publications, spaced-out announcements and news-generating tactics created a consistent news stream and improved press relations.
Two major briefings for more than 50 industry consultants and editors and over 55 one-on-one meetings and interviews, kept the commercial print community well-informed and bought-in to messaging
Result: High-profile speaking opportunities and byline placements promoted expertise.
Over 310 articles were secured in key trade publications worldwide. Analysis of coverage by Delahaye-Medialink from January to June 2002 shows Xerox edged out Heidelberg in digital printing coverage (due to IPEX and On Demand), while the HP/Indigo acquisition attracted the highest visibility. Heidelberg appeared in more articles, but most related to offset technology.
The Production unit of Xerox was most successful at message communication with 41 percent of its articles (34 percent of its exposure) communicating one or more key messages. “Leads the market in performance and productivity” was the most highly exposed message, appearing in product announcement articles and case studies.
Spokespeople contributed to the level of message pick-up as nearly half (54 percent) of articles that quoted a Xerox rep communicated a Production message.