Xerox Sifts Through Your Email

App makes your brain its business

Xerox, continuing its push to shed an outdated image as a copier company, is detouring into the headshrinking game.

The Fortune 500 company released a gimmicky new desktop app Tuesday, dubbed the "Business of your brain." The freeware is designed to analyze, confidentially, a user’s email and calendar to diagnose, sort of, the biggest drains on productivity. Maybe it’s buzzword-heavy correspondence, or a grateful colleague’s flood of thank you notes that wastes your day. The program "is a lighthearted look at focus—or lack thereof—in business," explains Christa Carone, Xerox’s chief marketing officer, who also called it "satirical."

The app is the latest in a campaign, led by Y&R, to rebrand Xerox as a provider of business services rather than just a purveyor of printers. The somewhat limp conceit: The company swears it can help you get back to real work.

Carone, for example, might want to consider spending less time in the conference room. "I can tell you that in the last week, I was in meetings for about 35 hours, and I had four meetings that were double-booked," she said, citing the app. About three or four of those were prepping for Tuesday's launch, she said.

But for an attempt to shed a stodgy legacy, the stunt (supported by marketing channels including search, social, and sales outreach) doesn’t exactly scream cutting edge: The launch phase of the app only runs on Outlook.