By John Kennedy, chief marketing officer at Xerox

John Kennedy

In this podcast, John Kennedy, Xerox vice president and chief marketing officer, shares several aspects of the company’s strategy and mission that are the inspiration for the Conduent name.

On January 29th of this year, Xerox announced it would separate into two independent companies, forging a new path forward.

When we made this announcement, we realized that one important step in this work was choosing a name for our soon-to-be new Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company. But at the same time, we also needed to re-affirm our commitment to the Xerox name. So two important steps to take – one a seemingly small step and the other a larger, more intensive step.

Choosing a company name is important. But even more important are decisions on the meaning to be infused into these names over time. Xerox is a name with immediate recognition and a meaning we’ve been working to evolve. The BPO company will start with an entirely new name where we’ll need to build recognition over time.

Xerox is a global brand, ranked perennially among the major brands in the world. While all signs pointed to Xerox for the Document Technology company, this was an opportunity to step back and evaluate our brand in light of our new path forward.

For the BPO company, we had to start by looking at the strategy and portfolio of the company. In the name, we wanted something that could evoke the company’s characteristics but still be flexible enough to evolve over time. We wanted something easy to pronounce, but something original and with a bit of intrigue. It had to pass a full range of trademark and other criteria. It was an extensive exercise that involved Xerox leaders and brand experts who assisted us in navigating the many ins and outs of naming a company. End-to-end, we needed to complete the entire process in just over three months to support the planned time-line for the company separation.

With all this in mind, we believe we’ve landed in a great place; hopefully, you’ll agree.

Conduent

The name Conduent is what we call a “coined” name, meaning it is a name we’ve derived with inspiration from several places. First, our BPO company connects our clients with their constituents – their consumers, employees, patients, commuters or citizens. It works as an extension of businesses and governments to process millions of interactions securely on an individualized basis. Increasingly these are conducted anywhere and anytime to meet constituent demand for seamless, flowing digital interactions. The result is higher customer and citizen satisfaction, creating value for our clients.

So when it came time to encapsulate all of this into a name, words like conduit, confluence and constituent come to mind. We explored nearly 6,000 options before landing on our final choice, and through that work, Conduent emerged as a name that seemed perfect for our new BPO Company.

Xerox

As I mentioned above, our Document Technology company inherits one of the most well-known brands in the world, Xerox. Being that the name has a long heritage in printing and imaging, retaining the Xerox name makes sense given the immense brand equity and awareness associated with it.

Whereas the name is not new, our portfolio of offerings and services has changed greatly over the years. Although we’ve been referring to ourselves as a “document technology company” for many years – the fact of the matter is that so much of what Xerox does today goes far beyond documents. As a result, we’re challenging ourselves to think about new ways to describe ourselves and the role that we play in the world. We’re 39,000 dedicated employees helping our clients become modern, digital enterprises with our diverse portfolio of technology, software, applications and services.

Of course, there’s still a great amount of work that remains ahead – after all, the name is just one part of a brand’s identity. But I see the company’s separation as an opportunity to remind ourselves what it is we do best and how that translates to value for our customers. There’s more to come, so stay tuned.