OKI, Lose grey – Love color.
New position through structural changes

A need to be different

How do you market a product that is basically a grey box that prints out paper and that costs a bit more than other printers with the same specs? OKI, a market leader in the global color printer market, has faced just this challenge. We helped OKI transform the ordinary grey printer into a design product and furnishing item and made it possible for customers to choose just the right colour for their personality.

New positioning strategy

OKI Marketing Director in Scandinavia Lars Hargaard had got the challenging task to market OKI’s newest colour printer for office use. Sure it was more powerful, cheaper and better than its predecessor, but the difference was hard to spot for the customer – and hard for Lars and his colleagues to communicate in traditional ways.

If you look at the range of colour lasers on the market they are all grey boxes, that apparently look the same – and OKI’s new colour printer was just yet another. Even though Lars and his colleagues knew that their printer had different features they also knew that to their costumers the printer basically would be a grey box that prints out paper.

Easy to imagine why it’s hard to tell the difference.

So it wasn’t enough to tell distributors and customers that they were launching a new model. That just wasn’t enough. Therefore OKI asked Stagis to help market the small office colour printer in Scandinavia. A hard task when what you need is to stand out in the market, make a distinct product that differs and which people can still recognize and use. And how could one small product change the corporate image of OKI?

8 possible strategies

To market OKI’s new printer we needed to come up with other competitive parameters rather than price, quality, endurance, number of colours inside the printer and so on. We needed to get away from technical issues and to find other things to focus on. In the process of developing a new positioning strategy for OKI’s newest colour printer we mapped eight possible strategies within the four parameters; economy, usage, context and display. We wanted to find a strategy that made it possible for OKI to stand apart from its competitors.

The new position we proposed was all about identity – we wanted to make OKI stand out by focusing on context and stile.

Transforming the product

Focusing on stile and context we made two different scenarios. We could introduce custom-made printers with personal self-chosen pictures printed on the side of the printer or we could launch a wide range of different colours to cover the entire printer. We decided on the last scenario and made the pay off “Lose grey – Love color”. It was all about colours. Suddenly there were not only colours inside the printer but also on the outside.

A printer with a picture on it vs. a coloured printer.

When Stagis pulled the idea out of the box about changing the colour of our printer it definitely was an eye opener. First of all we could see that the printer was extremely attractive. The gloss was just beautiful. We could still tell that it was our printer, only it was Farrari red all over. Lars Hargaard
Marketing Director, Northern Europe, OKI Printing Solutions

Producing the new printers

Stagis managed the entire process regarding changing the colour of the new office printer. We administered technical tests, disassembling the printer, paint coating, assembling and packaging of 500 printers. Furthermore we developed and produced stickers, a new brochure with care instructions and we delivered printers to a warehouse in Sweden. OKI’s new printer was launched in 36 different colours.


We wanted to create a wide range of colours so customers could choose just the right colour for their personality or the colour that would fit perfectly into their office. Nikolaj Stagis
CEO Stagis A/S

Campaign website

As a part of the pilot project we developed the website www.lovecolour.dk (+ .no + .se). On the campaign website the entire colour palette with the 36 unique colours was displayed: From Minty Green and Opera Blue to Ferrari Red and Power Pink. Also customers could see a unique 360-degree view of the printer. They could find retailers, order their new colour printer, and read about the printer’s technical specifications. The website was designed so that the colour of the background changed automatically with gradual transition showing the different colours and supporting the overall strategy.

Communicating the identity

We contacted leading trend and interior shops in Oslo, Göteborg, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Aarhus, where the printer got displayed and sold. By launching the printer in a wide range of colours we achieved a lot of valuable and positive publicity in fashion, trend, design and interior magazines – media that not usually mention printers and IT. “OKI Identity” was displayed in the Danish magazines Euroman, Cover and Bo Bedre and in similar Swedish and Norwegian media. Afterwards the concept and product was mentioned in technical and business media. The press coverage helped transform the perception of the OKI brand, and OKI’s position in the market changed from being a boring and almost unknown supplier to become an innovative company.

At the end of the pilot project all of 500 coloured printers were sold. The project functioned as a radical action that affected the self-perception and made external publicity and internal pride inside OKI and strengthened the organization’s reflexive authenticity.