The Ups and Downs of Xerox’s Universal Awareness and Shifting Your Brand Perception

Guest: Toni Clayton-Hine CMO, Xerox

The ultimate dream for marketers is universal awareness – the point in time when your brand becomes synonymous with a noun. Having your brand become a verb is an even better case scenario (think, “I’ll Venmo you the money!” or “I’ll Google it.”) This extremely high level of brand awareness can create issues though when your brand perception becomes “stuck” in this one-way thinking.

On this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, the CMO of Xerox, Toni Clayton-Hine, joins Drew for a conversation about how Xerox is embracing the new connectivity trend and how it is breaking through old brand perceptions to stay relevant in the 21st century.

Toni shares with Drew the story behind Xerox’s latest marketing initiative, Set the Page Free, and how Xerox is striving to be at the forefront of the intersection between digital and physical workspaces. They also discuss the pros and cons of such a risky marketing project and Toni’s top “do’s and don’ts” for current CMOs.

Join Drew and Toni for this engaging conversation – you won’t want to miss a single minute. Click here to listen now.

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Xerox’s latest Set the Page Free project and how they “marketed the marketing” so effectively

When faced with seemingly cemented brand perceptions, Xerox came up with a creative and big-picture marketing campaign: Set the Page Free. With 14 world-famous writers and creative minds in collaboration, Xerox told the story of the modern workplace – and the entire project was produced using Xerox technology. The end result were podcasts, videos, and a final free download book. After creating the piece, Toni and her team had to answer the question, “who is going to consume this content?” Drew asks Toni about how they “marketed the marketing campaign” so effectively and she explains that they really leveraged the celebrity collaborators and their social channels. For the full story behind the project, don’t miss this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite.

What does brand storytelling mean to Xerox in the 21st century?

Shifting Xerox’s brand perceptions became a balance of using the company’s history to their advantage, while still demonstrating to their customers that they are about more than just copying and faxing physical documents. The Set the Page Free project helped Xerox transition from the realm of a 1990s office verb into a frontrunner of 21st-century workplace technology. This engaging act of brand storytelling allowed the company to show the outcome of using their technology, not just the inputs. Since Xerox is a B2B technology company, Toni’s goal is to ensure Xerox is seen as fresh, relevant, and understanding of their different types of customers. To hear more of Toni’s marketing initiatives at Xerox that are continually shaping their brand perspectives, be sure to listen to the full audio.

The biggest lessons Toni has learned since joining Xerox and why taking marketing risks can be beneficial

While developing Set the Page Free, Toni explained that she often struggled with the desire to control every aspect of the project and subsequent brand awareness surveys. But when Drew asks her about the biggest lessons she learned while working on the project, Toni explains that Xerox had to take a risk in order to shift how people think about the company – and taking that risk also meant dealing with unpredictable variables. She also learned the importance of being more directive in her approach to help customers understand how to bring their Xerox technology tools to life. To hear Toni’s top “do’s and don’ts” for other CMOs, don’t miss this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite.

What You’ll Learn

  • [0:30] Why does brand awareness matter when you’re trying to sell a product or service?
  • [3:15] Drew introduces his guest for this episode, Toni Clayton, CMO of Xerox
  • [4:52] The main strategy behind Xerox’s marketing
  • [9:31] The benefit of working with creators who deliver extraordinary content
  • [12:58] Once you’ve created the excellent content, you have to “market the marketing”
  • [15:47] Toni explains how she had the courage to approach her CEO with this big, untestable idea
  • [18:30] What does storytelling meaning to Toni and Xerox?
  • [23:29] How Xerox is currently demonstrating their broader platform and usability
  • [26:48] Combatting the loss of reach associated with using digital marketing tactics
  • [30:19] How Xerox is showing customers new ways to use their products
  • [32:11] The biggest lesson Toni has learned in her career with Xerox
  • [37:03] One “do” and one “don’t” for CMOs as a result of Toni’s experience with Xerox

Connect With Toni Clayton-Hine:

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Drew

Meet the Guest

Toni Clayton-Hine is the Chief Marketing Officer at Xerox. With experience as a Senior Vice President, over 20 years in B2B sales and marketing, and a demonstrated history of getting results, Toni Clayton-Hine is a force in brand management and growth.

In addition to her current role at Xerox, Toni serves on the Board of Directors for CompTIA, the Computing Industry Trade Association, and is also a member of their Audit, Finance, and Investment Committee.

Toni holds a degree in Marketing, Communications, and Entrepreneurial Studies from Babson College.


Quotes from Toni Clayton-Hine

  • I'm a big believer in storytelling and the fact that we have to always show the outcome, not the input.
  • Extending our reach was about understanding and being dogged about who our target market really is.
  • I don't need to reach millions and millions of people. I just need to reach the right audience in a repetitive fashion.
  • Don't lock everything down. Don't try to control so much of the process that it's not true, and that it doesn't look authentic. Don't get so focused on putting your products in the background that you lose the authenticity of the program.

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