Game, Set, Match – Xerox and the U.S. Open

Partnership is one of the corporate buzzwords du jour. From grand corporate alliances to short-term consulting contracts, companies doing business together are increasingly claiming to “partner” with each other. Yet, when you peel back the layers, you find everything from truly mutually beneficial relationships to firms simply working together on certain projects and referring business. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but true partnerships should be more.

Then there are sponsorships. This is where a company plunks down some serious bucks to promote its brand in conjunction with another organization—such as sports teams, the arts, museums and the like—to increase branding and garner some halo effect from of the sponsored organization. The hope is that the promotional aspect turns into sales. As a friend who’s a NASCAR fan likes to say, “If a product isn’t on the side of a race car, we don’t need it.”

But sponsorships and partnerships can also be combined to provide real benefits for all involved. We haven’t seen too much of this in the printing and document industries, but that’s changing with the Xerox presence at the 2011 U.S. Open tennis championship that’s underway in New York City. I’d spotted the Xerox logos while watching the Open on TV and remembered it has some involvement beyond mere logo and ad placement, so I made a few calls.

Xerox is hardly a stranger to alliances in the world of sports, having been behind the scenes at various winter and summer Olympics. Its new sponsorship strategy is one that seeks to extend the brand—and business—through tennis, the arts, music, science and more.

Five year deal
According to Jon Levine, vice president for Global Experiential Marketing & Communications, Xerox has cut a five-year deal with the U.S. Open to be the exclusive office equipment and document technology and services provider for both the U.S. Open and Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. Much of the work is behind the scenes stuff, but combined with the associated document production at the Open, creates a story that Xerox hopes will resonate with a large segment of a key target market—corporations seeking document and print management services and equipment.

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