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Lee Davis

Ricoh Is Rebranding Fujitsu’s Scanners

Is this a good idea?

Jan 27, 2023 11:22:28 AM


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Ricoh recently announced that the company is rebranding Fujitsu scanners. Starting April 2023, all Fujitsu scanners (including fi, ScanSnap, and SP Series scanners) will carry Ricoh’s logo and become a part of Ricoh’s global product and services portfolio. Ricoh will also blend PFU’s existing sales channels into The Ricoh Group’s global channel in its effort to increase scanner sales.


Ricoh will only replace the Fujitsu name on the device—model names will not be changed.


Ricoh’s announcement to rebrand Fujitsu devices and fold them into the company’s portfolio comes less than five months after the company finalized its $641 million acquisition of PFU, which is a lot sooner than we expected. The branding change is also a bit surprising given how Ricoh stuck with the DocuWare brand after acquiring the company in the summer of 2019.


Without a doubt, integrating Fujitsu’s products into Ricoh’s portfolio is a brilliant move that provides Ricoh and its partners with a competitive advantage. However, was it wise to also adjust the branding of Fujitsu devices? After all, Fujitsu has become a highly recognizable brand among customers on its way to becoming the North American office document scanner market share leader


The first thing to consider is how do customers feel about both brands? One way we can gauge is by looking at its net promoter score (NPS), a metric that measures a customer’s willingness to recommend a brand to others on a scale of -100 (least likely to recommend) to 100 (most likely to recommend). In general, experts say that negative scores are bad, positive scores are good, scores of 20 or higher are great, and scores of 50 or higher are amazing. Neither brand has an outstanding NPS score, according to numbers from Comparably: Fujitsu’s NPS of 5 is a positive value, which is good, especially compared to Ricoh’s NPS of -14. But it’s not “great” and nowhere close to DocuWare’s NPS of 57 (which might explain, at least in part, why DocuWare was not rebranded).


Besides, determining if rebranding was “the right move” is not just about how customers feel. The channel’s sentiment can also influence branding decisions. If the channel doesn't trust a brand, they may be more reluctant to work with that OEM. In Keypoint Intelligence’s 2022 State of the US Channel Survey, we asked the channel about their opinion of different MFP and scanner OEMs (favorable, unfavorable, no opinion, or haven’t heard of). Our respondents had a neutral opinion of Ricoh, with most saying they have “no opinion” of the company. Fujitsu, on the other hand, was the fourth-most favorable scanner manufacturer among the channel, boasting a ratio of 2.21 favorable responses to unfavorable/no opinion responses.


Fujitsu is among the most favorably viewed scanner manufacturers among the US channel


Although the channel and customer’s seem to be more receptive to Fujitsu’s brand, I get where Ricoh is coming from. The main reason Ricoh purchased Fujitsu was to better position itself as a digital services provider—a one-stop-shop for document digital transformation (DX). With the brand standardized on the Ricoh name, the conversation will be about how Ricoh’s portfolio of distinctive edge devices, business applications, and cloud platforms will help businesses cut costs, increase productivity, and better serve their customers. Too many brands under one umbrella might make it difficult to convey that message and could leave customers thinking “Did Ricoh do this or did Fujitsu do this?”  


So, with the decision to rebrand Fujitsu’s scanners, one must wonder: Does slapping a Ricoh logo on a Fujitsu scanner decrease its value? Will Ricoh’s competitors feel comfortable selling Ricoh-branded technology? Will Ricoh even allow competitors to continue selling these scanners? These are difficult—if impossible—questions to answer right now; ultimately, only time will tell if this was the right course of action.


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