Other than the fact that Xerox is five times the size of Lexmark, the companies look almost the same on paper. Both have been around since monks did the copying and printing, and each has a bland, er, brand that is bland.
And both have declared they are going to become less focused on hardware (printers, copiers) and more focused on “solutions” and “services.” For Xerox, this is at least the third time its contemplated such a strategy since circa 1998.
Meantime, neither Xerox nor Lexmark have given shareholders anything to cheer about since the 2008 meltdown. Most large technology companies have recovered, but these two are nowhere near their pre-recession peak: Xerox at $8, versus $20; Lexmark at $35 versus $70+.
Neither business is going anywhere. A merger would allow the combined entity to take Lexmark’s better innovation and the traditional cost savings and plow it into some good marketing.
The interesting dilemma in this case would be what to call the new company.
The Exxon Mobil Method
This wouldn’t work. Xerox Lexmark is as hard to say as Lexmark Xerox. Picture Rudy Giuliani trying to get through this one without drowning the audience in spit.
The Mash-Up Method
Xer-mark? Lex-ox? Xer-Lex? XeroxLex? Ain’t happenin’.
The Wuss Method
Lexmark, a division of Xerox. Or…Lexmark, a Xerox company. Both work, but amplify the “bland” brand issue noted earlier.
Make It Up Method
It’s been done a billion times before. Xfinity. Convergys. Agilysys. Zillow. This would be a waste, since Xerox is a household name, a common verb and a common noun. Although Xerox only came in at #57 in the 2011 Interbrand Top 100 brand list, Lexmark didn’t show up at all.
The Big Bet
To show it is really serious about its new future, Xerox must adopt “services” or “solutions” plus “content” in its post-merger name. Lexmark loses out from a brand identity perspective, but ends up as part of a $30 billion business. Better than a $5 billion one on its own.
So there you have it. The brand consultant who gets this job can bill $500,000 and skip right down to this as a starting point: “Xerox Content Services.”