Kinko's Is Dead, Long Live "FedEx Office"

FedEx announced yesterday that they would be renaming Kinko’s “FedEx Office”

“The name FedEx Office more accurately represents our broader role of providing superior information and services,” Brian Philips, the unit’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “We are a back office for small businesses and a branch office for medium to large businesses and mobile professionals.”


FedEx to rename Kinko’s
[Bloomberg via Kottke]
(Photo: cmorran123 )

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  1. einstoch says:

    I wonder if they’ll keep the craptacular service that they’re known for.

  2. sprocket79 says:

    I predict this will be a marketing disaster. The Kinko’s brand is really strong. Whether you have good or bad feelings about the stores, you know what it stands for.

  3. IggySmalls says:

    The first Kinko’s cart (they started out with only a cart) is down the street from me. It was founded by 2 UCSB graduates. This makes me kinda sad…

  4. Bladefist says:

    …but everyone knows what kinkos is. Thats a well known word. Idiots.

  5. Brain.wav says:

    Seems like a bad idea. Kinko’s has better brand recognition…

  6. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Awww. Another college memory dies. Long live 24-hour, save your ass Kinkos! Seriously, before everyone had access to a zillion computers and printers, Kinkos helped many an all-nighter paper toward a (reasonably) happy ending.

  7. This is dumb. The Kinko’s brand name had the lock on “do-it-all integration”. The FedEx brand equates to shipping. I think this is a bad branding decision.

  8. MissPeacock says:

    @sprocket79: Agreed. If I drove by a “FedEx Office,” I don’t think I would ever associate it with copying, printing, etc. I would think it was just a place to ship packages from.

  9. HOP says:

    time marches on…in the near future, one company will own everything in the usa…..

  10. mgy says:

    “I like Kinko’s, because they’re open 24 hours. If it’s 5 am and I decide I need two of something, I’m covered! Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, and then I think, “Oh, yeah. Kinko’s. No problem. That will not remain singular.”

  11. Wormfather says:

    Oh no-berries. This bring us one step closer to it being called Wal-Mart.

  12. Bagels says:

    @HOP: Compu-Global-Hyper-Meganet

  13. Propaniac says:

    I agree with others in that if I were looking for a place to make some copies or print some photos or something, and I passed “FedEx Office,” I would not be inclined to go there. On the other hand, I don’t consider myself a small, medium, or large business, nor a “mobile professional”; I’m just a person who sometimes needs to copy or print stuff. So apparently they’re not interested in my business, anyway.

  14. Wormfather says:

    Hey guys, the thing is some exec had been sitting at a meeting thinking that they needed to say somethiing becuase ya know, they’re making $X,XXX,XXX a year, this is the best he/she could come up with and because all the other overpaid execs couldnt think of anything better to talk about they all aggreed that it was a great idea.

    I belive I just stole a Bill Simmons theory.

  15. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    Be real, who didn’t see this renaming on the horizon after Federal Express took over Kinkos?

    How many brands under the happy FedEx roof? We have FedEx Express (known internally as “FedEx Classic”), FedEx Ground (a.k.a. FedEx NewCoke), “FedEx Custom Critical”, “FedEx Home Delivery” (apparently a different thing from FedEx NewCoke), now introducing “FedEx Office” and coming soon, “FedEx Burgers” and “FedEx Taco Trucks”.

  16. May go down as the worst “re-brand” in history. When Mail Boxes Ect. got bought by UPS, it still made sense, and FedEx Kinko’s makes sense, FedEx office sounds like a discount bin office software you have to un-install the second you buy a new computer along with all the other blotware out there.

  17. failurate says:

    I figure 6 months before they announce mass closing of FedEx Offices stores.
    It realy should have been “Kinkos – FedEx” from the start. Kinkos as a brand represents a location. Where do you go to get copies? You go to Kinkos.
    FedEx is a service company. You don’t “go” to FedEx, they come to you.
    Or, you go to Kinkos to FedEx something.
    They have screwed everything up.

  18. Jeff_McAwes0me says:

    @mgy:

    Best qoute ever.

  19. legwork says:

    This is clearly the product of white-line marketing execs. It’s amazing they’d tank such a well-regarded and entrenched brand.

    Wait, did Harvard Business School ever have a Kinkos? That could explain the complete detachment from reality.

  20. JDAC says:

    In a similar move, Pop-Copy to be renamed “Copy Your Own Shit”

  21. savvy9999 says:

    When will the Fedex Office Service Pack 1 be out?

    ‘cos I’m not installing it until then.

  22. Propaniac says:

    Something in the article that didn’t make it into the Consumerist post: the company says it will cost $696 million to make this incredibly stupid change. Nearly 700 million dollars to change their name to something worse. Can you imagine what could be done in the world with 700 million dollars? Would it be possible to spend 700 million dollars in a way likely to result in less net benefit to anyone than this name change?

  23. @Propaniac: Apparently FedEx is doing it’s own economic stimulus package to the sign making industry, and screwing FedEx shareholders in the process…

  24. sleepydumbdude says:

    This is stupid. When I was in college I didn’t even have a kinko’s in town but referred to any copy place as Kinko’s just because of the brand name.
    FedEx office just doesn’t sound like a place that I would want to take my school projects to.

  25. spinachdip says:

    Gotta go with the wisdom of the crowd here. “Kinko’s” was about the most recognizable brand name in photocopying and other office-type stuff.

    Its association with its product/service was as strong as, if not stronger than, Xerox with copiers or Kleenex with facial tissues. You thought, “I need to fax something but I don’t have a fax machine. Where’s the nearest Kinko’s?”, not “Where is the nearest office support service store?”

    This is akin to Wal-Mart snapping In-N-Out Burger, then renaming it Wal-Grill. Maybe.

  26. chemmy says:

    Popcopy comes to mind…

  27. subterrene says:

    @JDAC: @JDAC: “Copy Your Own Shit” – I just busted out laughing!

  28. Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

    Maybe they’ll end up having to pull an ATT-Cingular-ATT changeback. Those mistakes are soooo cheap to fix. Not.

  29. evslin says:

    Didn’t Microsoft go through this with Hotmail too? I seem to recall they tried to rename Hotmail to Windows Live Mail and eventually put Hotmail back in the name because of brand recognition problems.

  30. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @sprocket79: because the fedex brand is so weak?

  31. Mr_Human says:

    Don’t they have anything better to do? God, I wish I were an overpaid branding consultant.

  32. spinachdip says:

    @BuddyGuyMontag: In office services? Yeah, it’s weak as shit.

    FedEx-Kinko’s has been around for a while now, but in the eyes of most people, FedEx is still synonymous with overnight shipping and nothing else. Kinko’s, on the other hand, is the entire fucking category.

  33. DH405 says:

    What a terrible idea. Paul Orfalea’s company has long since been stripped of its integrity. Now here goes its identity.

    Too bad. He built such a great brand around a name that others gave him for his weird hair in college.

  34. saury316 says:

    While I don’t agree with the name, I really hope this means that ANYONE at a ‘Fedex Office’ will be able to help me with a Fedex shipment.
    I can remember at least 4 times that I’ve gone in looking to ship something, where there is no one who knows how to ship my package through fedex… “Sorry we just know how to copy and bind” (aka… all the Kinko’s stuff).

  35. GoldHoops says:

    I’m still gonna call it “Stinko’s”.

  36. malvones says:

    Stupid, as everyone else is saying.

    Spend the millions of dollars upgrading those craptacular work stations so that (a) they are actually attached to a working internet connection and (b) they can manage to open a word doc. I’ve seen more computing power at an inner-city public library.

  37. sprocket79 says:

    @BuddyGuyMontag: As spinachdip pointed out, yes, it is weak if they are aiming for the business to continue as a copy/office services type of company.

    I actually think they have a pretty good thing going with the FedEx Kinko’s co-branding. It recalls the strengths of both companies.

    Take the UPS Store for example – did you know you could do copies and laminating and faxing (although not at the same level as Kinko’s) at the UPS Store? Most people don’t. The only two times I’ve stepped foot into a UPS Store was for UPS delivery purposes. They don’t come to the top of my mind for anything else. Same thing will happen to FedEx.

  38. LiC says:

    They shouldn’t do that. Kinkos is fun to say, FedEx is not.

  39. krom says:

    And here I thought it was a place where you could get medium-to-high-count color copying and printing on non-standard stock.

    I had no idea that by getting protest flyers copied or organizational calling cards printed on card stock made me a small business in search of a back office.

  40. Balisong says:

    nnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  41. @sprocket79:

    I predict this will be a marketing disaster. The Kinko’s brand is really strong.

    110% agree.

  42. darksunfox says:

    It’s an interesting change… but perhaps made because all of us who were in college when it was Kinko’s are now employed and can use our networked office printers when we need to make our garage sale flier, and the new generation knows them as Fedex Kinko’s anyways. I think one of the major problems with Kinko’s as a whole is that access to their bread and butter services has increased so much and dropped so far in price for what was their core customer (college students, college professors, self employed) that they probably need to make a lot of changes to stay afloat.

  43. Ragman says:

    Must be the same marketing team that got Borland to change its name to Inprise 10 years ago, then change it back 3 years later.

  44. magic8ball says:

    @Ash78: @MissPeacock: Seriously. When I read the blurb, my first thought was, “Are they going to stop doing copying and printing? Where will I go when I need photocopies at 2 a.m.?”

    I wish I were kidding about the copies.

  45. octopede says:

    Fail. On multiple levels.

  46. ninjatoddler says:

    I have a feeling this has something to do with the resignation of Ken May as CEO of FedEx Kinko’s. The new kid on the block, Brian Phillips, must really love his NBC shows.

  47. magic8ball says:

    I hope Kinkos kept their receipt for this.

  48. FedEx was possibly upset because I still called them Kinko’s.

  49. stuny says:

    This is kinda like when Palm Pilot dropped the Pilot, but none of their customers stopped using it. Then they split into PalmOne and PalmSource, names which no customer actually ever acknowledged existed.

    Then one of them (no one really remembers which) reverted back to the original Palm name, and finally settled on the name “Apple Newton” to reflect on their relevance in the market.

    FedEx should sell the Kinkos name to some “marital aid” manufacturer where finally it would make sense.

  50. captadam says:

    Booo, FedEx. I guess Kinko’s was just too fun to say–and too 90s. The freewheeling 90s are over, and it’s time for the name of this company to reflect the Very. Serious. Nature. of today’s corporate world.

  51. Amarain824 says:

    They already suck, so instead of being annoyed at 2 companies, you can just be annoyed at one.

  52. Lambasted says:

    I have to be a naysayer here. Kinko’s may have been known for 24 hours copying but it was never known for quality, hence the “Pop Copy” skit references here. There was no brand loyalty to Kinko’s. People were loyal to those copy machines humming at midnight. As long as FedEx doesn’t change the 24 hour nature of the operation, FedEx Office makes sense to me for the long term. A one stop shop for all of your office needs…under one name.

    You guys are funny. When it is 5am and you wake up in a cold sweat to realize you forgot to make copies for your 9am meeting, you won’t give a damn if the place is called Kinko’s, FedEx Office, or Saved Your Butt Again, Inc., you’ll hop in your car and drive as fast as you can to get there.

  53. hypoxia says:

    As a member of FEK management I can say that this has nothing to do with Ken May’s departure at the end of March (apparently this has been brewing for months if not years); they are indeed hoping to focus more on small business owners, hence the choice of “Office”; it will still remain two different companies; there are no plans to close any stores (if anything the expansion will continue); and we employees are surprised at this move as well. Kinko’s is synonymous with copying/printing/document creation/whatever else.

    It will take years to roll this out and the office scuttlebutt is that it will begin on the coasts and move toward the midwest because the midwestern stores were the most recent to be overhauled, so they don’t want to go in and muck it all up right after having remodelled so many.

    The not so good side of it, as I see it, is that we lose the aforementioned branding that the Kinko’s name carries. The good side of it is that we might finally stop hearing all the “Kinky” jokes.

  54. timmus says:

    Screw ‘em anyway. In my college town, they used to have a branch next to the university. They closed that several years ago… now the nearest Kinkos is 3 miles away from there, across the Interstate near the mall. The Kinkos college student train left the station years ago.

    And I run a small business now and it’s hell getting into that part of town, unlike the university.

  55. hypoxia says:

    Timmus: Why would you need to go there? Just use the online document transmission tool (printonline.fedexkinkos.com) to place your order. If you’d like to see a proof, request that the complimentary pickup and delivery system that FEK has deliver it to your business. Call the store to approve the proof or request changes. When the order is done, FEK will deliver it, complimentary, to your business or wherever else you request.

    There is no reason you should have to set foot in a FEK if it’s inconvenient. Let FEK do the work.

  56. hypoxia says:

    @saury316:

    I agree. But not all FEK locations are able to accept shipping. My location is one of them, unfortunately. I am unclear as to the logic behind this. I think that if the FedEx name is attached, they should provide FedEx services. It just makes sense.

  57. darkryd says:

    So does this mean they’re firing all their employees and going to replace them with competent ones?

  58. spinachdip says:

    @hypoxia: This is pretty reasonable, actually. I was wondering if they wanted to disassociate themselves from the “Kinko’s=place to make copies” association, and it makes sense if that’s their goal.

    Still, I’m not sure if it’s worth throwing away Kinko’s enormous brand equity, nor do I know if people will ever associate FedEx with office services. For everyday paper stuff, most SOHOs have printers and copiers that fit their needs. For bigger jobs, I’d prefer to go to a dedicated print shop. I realize FedEx Office is going to have fancy online print orders and whatnot, but I don’t know if that’s enough of an advantage over independent printers.

  59. hypoxia says:

    @spinachdip:

    On a personal level I don’t approve of the name change at all, nor do any of the employees I’ve spoken with so far. It was quite a surprise. The branding is just too strong. However, FEK has made some AMAZING changes in the last few years that have seriously affected my life for the better, and they are really focusing now on not only improving the customer’s experience but improving what they offer to their employees, so this makes me very curious as to where this branding shift will lead. You’re absolutely right on the brand equity.

    The major, MAJOR advantages that FEK has that I can’t see an independent printer ever competing with are the massive carbon footprint reduction and the efforts to become more of a project manager for the clients rather than just a print place. Case in point:

    Suppose you’re flying to Dallas for some sort of convention or presentation. Do you really want to cart all your printed materials on the plane and deal with the extra baggage cost and parcels? Do you really want to go to four different stores to get your business cards, your presentation folios, your table displays, and your branded trinkets?

    Doubtful. So what you do is get to place your order for everything in ONE store and have that store arrange for it to be wherever you need it to be, and that is usually complimentary. I do it every day for my clients. I create the order, negotiate the price, create proofs which the customer approves, and then I electronically transmit the order to ANY FEK in the county, and they then are accountable to ME. My client has ONE person they can contact for everything. I am essentially their project manager. I make sure their order is waiting at the convention center, or at the hotel, or wherever else they need it to be. If you take a moment to consider how many stores across the country there are and how many people actually need these services, we are the ONLY company in the country that can do this.

    Think of the carbon footprint reduction by not actually shipping paper across the country. Think of the branding consistency that I can provide my client whether it’s at this store or at the store in Dallas. Think of how much money I just saved them in shipping and lugging stuff around.

    And that’s just the start. I could go on all day but no one wants to hear it, I know. It’s just that there’s so much more that FEK offers than crappy service. ;)

  60. jamesdenver says:

    Lots of us already have a place to make copies, print flyers, mail packages, use office supplies, check personal email/internet, and make color prints (when no one is around)

    Its called work.

  61. FLConsumer says:

    Worst business marketing plan in a LONG time.

    At least the AT&T->Cingular->AT&T change was done to get around the regulators.

  62. stavs says:

    @hypoxia:

    You’re in violation of the Standards of Conduct :)

  63. @JDAC: @chemmy: Damn, I was hoping I could be first to bring up Popcopy.

    I think it depends on how much money they dump into rebranding it, granted everyone knew kinko’s, and have gotten to know FedExKinkos (yeah, its a mouthful), but I think eventually they’ll learn that FedEx Office is the same thing (after they pump out a couple million in advertising). Look at Mailboxes Etc and UPS (I know Mailboxes Etc doesn’t have nearly the name recognition as Kinkos, but still).

  64. hypoxia says:

    @stavs:Oh, my friend, you have no idea! ;)

  65. stavs says:

    @hypoxia:

    I sense that you’re strategic alignment is not in check either!

  66. hypoxia says:

    @stavs: I’ve been strategically bent for years. :P :P

  67. youwantedahero says:

    @mgy: is that mitch hedburg?

  68. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    @che_leo: When they’re charging you by the minute to use those craptacular work stations, how is it exactly in their best corporate interest to make things move more quickly?

  69. elmo3 says:

    Kinko, Kinko
    The kid loving clown
    If the kids just love me back
    I’ll never wear a frown

  70. ashabanapal says:

    So it’s finally happened. I resigned after a year of fedex reign because i saw them attempting to play down to the competition from office max and staples. it was absurd. we had office supply companies trying to eat into our business by offering poor quality prints at discount prices. instead of a lasting and bold refinement of our pricing to draw in those customers, we decided people were going to office max and staples for office supplies, so clearly we needed to expand our selection of office supplies. brilliant. when i stopped at a branch to fax a few months ago and saw a geek squad kiosk, i could not stop laughing. now kinko’s is officially dead. “fedex office” reflects the vision they’ve had since purchasing the company. i hope they find the strategy kinko’s has been looking for since they had to shift away from the campus business.

  71. hypoxia says:

    @ashabanapal: I imagine you live somewhere in Pennsylvania or thereabouts. That was the test market for the GS kiosks. That program died a rightful death about seven weeks ago.

    They expanded to office products to make up for the lost revenue from slicing color copy prices in half.

  72. donkeyjote says:

    @darkryd: Yea, cause regular fedex has competent employees….

  73. clarence9999 says:

    As an employee of FXK, I’ve got a good feeling about this name change. I agree that the Kinkos name has been synonymous with copies, but it has also been the butt of every “job of last resort” joke in movies, tv shows and comedic routines. To date, successful FedEx Kinkos centers are the ones with hard-working, competent specialists who’ve built loyal relationships with CORPORATE clients who understand the value of “done right, on time” and are willing to pay for it.

    Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Single Copy, who can’t understand that $.09 on your credit card used at a SELF-SERVICE COPIER doesn’t cost YOU anything extra; you’re not who we make our money from, and you should indeed go to the library to make your copies.

    I for one look forward to the fading of a once-pioneering brand that has become stigmatized as a punchline (ref. TopCopy and Replica). FedEx Office indeed states more broadly and professionally our service and retail offerings. For you ex-college students waxing longingly of late nights at our computers, every kid has a laptop now…being open all night is largely a ridiculous relic, almost completely unnecessary, not to mention extremely un-green.

    You may joke about our collective competence, but don’t underestimate the effect of this name change on employees like me who are a little less embarrassed to say where we work. Way to go Brian!

  74. superchou says:

    wow that is crazy. I worked there in college – back when they were independently owned and no uniform and they did the courseworks etc… and then they rolled into one privately owned company… thought it was a shame when fedex bought them out years after i left… now I feel like kinko’s is totally gone. I think I am a little saddened by the whole thing – the charm is lost and after the corporate machine is done it pits out some watered down version. I go into the shops and so it seems like they are spread so thin trying to be everything instead of focusing on their core competency.

    shame.

  75. Skankingmike says:

    @MalcoveMagnesia:

    Well actually.. If you want the total it goes like this.

    FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx Custom Critical, FedEx LTL (lighter than truck load), FedEx Trade Networks, FedEx Office & Print Centers (or FedEx Office) FedEx Freight, FedEx Services, FedEx Supply Chain Services (and then there’s a lot of companies within some of those).

    but who’s counting?

    I hate it personally.. but whatever..

  76. scarysnow says:

    i have never had a good experience inside a kinkos. they act like i need them, instead of the other way around.

  77. RINO-Marty says:

    I would wager that ever living person in the US knows what Kinkos is. And FedEx is going to murder the brand. What a bunch of fools. This reminds me of when Honda (Acura) killed the Legend. The reasoning was that it was too popular and better known than the Acura brand, so they murdered it and came up with the “RL” replacement – which, 15 years later, is as bland and anonymous as it was on day 1.

  78. RINO-Marty says:

    @hypoxia: I have never, in my life, had a Kinkos complete a large copy job correctly. Never. Never ever. Not once – ever. Never. Under any circumstances. Not to belabor the point, but they have never, ever, ever gotten it right. Never.

  79. ImmortalityLTD says:

    @RINO-Marty: I worked there for 7 years before FedEx took over (so I knew the lingo and the ways to work the system pretty well) and the only time they DIDN’T screw up the orders I placed for my new company was when I placed them with someone I used to work with. Once they all moved on to less abusive workplaces, it was impossible to get something right the first time.

    I was better off doing last-minute orders myself than entrusting them to the retards and stoners that remained. It got to the point where my company now has its own in-house Kinko’s-style printing office, just so we can have some degree of quality control.

    And two of my former Kinko’s coworkers are in that department.

  80. Wirehead says:

    I always have to call them “Kinko’s the Kinky Copy Shop”

  81. one800higgins says:

    As a manager at a FedEx Kinko’s branch, it should be pointed out that this decision was made within a month of the 20+ year CEO of Kinko’s leaving the company. There has always been rumors that FedEx wasn’t happy with the merger in the last 2 years, but that Ken May was still holding it together… Now that he is no longer with the company, this seems to be the first big and idiotic decision of the company.

    It does make sense though… Aside from FedEx Express, every single other branch of the company (Ground, Home Delivery, Customer Critical, Critical Inventory Logistics, Freight, etc etc etc) are all companies that FedEx bought out and completely changed the name of. It was only time before they did it with Kinko’s too.

  82. Merkin says:

    As someone who worked for Kinko’s during the agonizingly long transition period from founder-owned company to loosely integrated franchise operation to reunification to buyout, I am happy to see the company name dead and buried. I worked there long enough to see my benefits package shrivel and dwindle, to spend days in training in various “ingenious” “technologies” that were foisted upon stores (KinkoNet, anyone?) which then got dropped through lack of support, and to have friends get fired just for talking about unionizing.

    Seriously, fuck Kinko’s.

  83. BlazerUnit says:

    I’m still mad they dumped “Kal Kan” for “Pedigree”.

  84. stavs says:

    @RINO-Marty:

    Never had a copy job done right? I would think the problem might be your instructions, but the customer is never wrong.

  85. ashabanapal says:

    @hypoxia:

    actually, i’m in NC. they must have sliced color copy prices in half after i left. we still had .89 per impression which is ridiculous. they had one promotion for one month at .49 which is were it should be for any retail shop that can control waste and negotiate advantageous machine contracts. machine costs were my biggest complaint from an operational standpoint. with a footprint so huge, to not get better leases always astounded me.