What’s in a name?

By John Kennedy, chief marketing officer 

In this podcast, John Kennedy, 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.

17 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. David DeCaprio June 17, 2016 - Reply

    Excellent insights from Xerox chief marketing officer John Kennedy into the derivation of ‘Conduent’ our new name. Clearly a lot of thought and pride went into the selection of this new moniker. One can’t help but be proud of our rich heritage and excited for the future.

  2. Where is the new Conduent logo and branding?

  3. Régnier June 17, 2016 - Reply

    In France, it doesn’t mean anything

  4. Lorie Llorens June 17, 2016 - Reply

    As a marketing person, I am looking forward to seeing how Xerox corporate branding will roll this out… TV ads, billboard ads, print ads, etc. We definitely need to create some “buzz!” It seems like a word that could lend itself to some fun campaigns.

    • David DeCaprio June 17, 2016 - Reply

      I agree Lorie. I think these elements will all follow in due course. I am excited to see the new logotype and color palette. The possibilities seem endless with such a unique name.

  5. Michael June 17, 2016 - Reply

    “Conduent” seems Catalan to me. (Long story short, as a child my family had friends from the country of Andorra, where Catalan is the official language.)

    Catalan, even though it is a formal language, is the ‘Spanglish’ of Western Europe, having roots in both Spanish and French.

    In Catalan, the word Conduent is an adjective, although usually used in the plural – Conduents – not the singular.
    A typical Catalan Dictionary usually defines Conduent as: Que condueix a un fi. (English: Leading to an end.)

    Examples of usage:

    Catalan: Actituds conduents a la unitat.
    English: Attitudes conducive to unity.
    Catalan: Arguments conduents a rebutjar la tesi.
    English: Arguments leading to reject the thesis.

    I wonder if this was considered when the name was selected?

  6. Tracy Yelencsics June 18, 2016 - Reply

    Thanks for the question on the Conduent logo and branding. As the leader of global brand at Xerox, we are very excited about the new name! We are in the process of developing all of these components and will share them prior to the launch of the new company.

  7. Tracy Yelencsics June 18, 2016 - Reply

    In response to the name not meaning anything in French, you’re right. The name Conduent is what we call a “coined” name, meaning it is a name you won’t find in the dictionary, but 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.

  8. Tracy Yelencsics June 18, 2016 - Reply

    As discussed above, Conduent is a coined word in English which evokes its positioning as connecting its clients with their constituents. We will infuse the name with greater meaning over time. In our research, the word conduent in Catalan means leading or conducive, which fits with our positioning as well.

  9. EUGENE TIFFANY July 4, 2016 - Reply

    So glad you chose to coin a name for what is likely to be a prominent company.

    As a writer, it far more than annoys me when businesses steal a commonly used word out of the public domain and then trademarks it. For example, say, taking the word, “banana, then claiming ownership of it.

    My hat is off to you for not doing that.

    Note, XOREX could have been a good choice.

  10. Tracy Yelencsics July 4, 2016 - Reply

    Thanks for the great comment on a coined name!

  11. Авточасти AutoPower.BG September 21, 2016 - Reply

    Xerox is not good choice, it’s the BEST choice when it comes to machines!

    • Tracy Yelencsics September 21, 2016 - Reply

      You are so totally right! Xerox is the best choice when it comes to the technology and solutions that have revolutionized the way the world works!

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