2013 marked the 125th anniversary of Eastman Kodak, a brand which in the mid 70s had an incredible 90% market share, only to escape bankruptcy recently through the sale of many of its patents to companies including Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Its brand strategy was interpreted through the tagline ‘A Kodak moment’, which even now is shorthand for a memory to be treasured and remembered. It’s reminiscent of a time when every photo was valuable considering the cost of film and developing, and the anticipation of finally seeing how a shot turned out perhaps weeks or months after it was taken.
And yet when planning your tech marketing strategy, there are lessons to learn from Kodak, particularly in the way it turned a highly technical and commercial pastime into an essential 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 every day:
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 a tech company develop its own Kodak moment?
Base your strategy around a deep 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 societal changes can you take advantage of – or need to be aware of as a threat. The Kodak brand decline was due in part to its resistance to the digital shift, and their 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.