Eastman Kodak recently marked its 125th anniversary. It's a company with a household name, and in the mid 70s the company had an incredible 90% market share. Yet Kodak only just escaped bankruptcy last year through the sale of many of its patents to companies including Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Despite it's decline, the tagline 'A Kodak moment' is now shorthand for a memory to be treasured and remembered, reminiscent of a time when each photo was valuable considering the cost of film and developing, and the anticipation of finally seeing how a shot turned out perhaps weeks after it was taken.
And yet there are lessons we can learn from Kodak, particularly in the way it turned a highly technical and commercial pastime into part of everyday life. Far from being an obsolete concept, this baton has more recently passed to Apple's iPhone, with it's highly emotive Photos every day campaign:
The Nokia challenge Better Photos Everyday:
And Apple's 'Misunderstood', a Christmas narrative showing the thoughtful and sentimental side of a sometimes misunderstood generation, demonstrating yet again how their brand is helping families create new Kodak moments.
So how can you develop your brand's own Kodak moment?
- Develop an understanding of how you and your category fit into your customers' lives - where can you can enrich their experiences? How can you become a daily habit?
- Recognise that where you may see an opportunity, your customers may require further education. Kodak had a strategy of significant advertising and content in annual reports, trade journals and newspapers aimed at generating conversation and increasing the popularity of photography.
- Take advantage of the ubiquity and easy sharing of social media by creating your own non-product content to become a thought-leader in your industry.
- Consider if there are social changes can you take advantage of - or be aware of -as a threat. Kodak's decline was due in part to its resistance to the digital shift, and failure to recognise that the way people were storing and sharing photos was changing. We still want to capture that Kodak moment, but with the advent of new photo sharing apps, we no longer need to wait to share.