July 31, 2002

Kodak's Sharper Focus
Being that I used to live in Rochester, Kodak has always had a place in my heart. You see, Kodak is Rochester. At least it's economy anyway. When we were going through the last recession (early 90's), Kodak was especially slammed, and never really recovered. Their main problem, from what I understand, is in the post their revenue came mostly from film sales. Then 2 things happened: film became a commodity because the competition matched Kodak's quality; Digital happened.

Kodak has never really grasped the potential of the Internet and the synergies with digital photos. Marketing strategy after marketing strategy, Kodak has failed. Kodak is starting yet another marketing initiative, "Project Next." But this one might work. Project Next will entail, "revamp[ing] its website to improve customer satisfaction and usability, more tightly integrate the company's many online businesses, and ultimately cut costs and put it in a better position to compete as photography moves from film to digital"

While that's a little vague and abstract, what I did like was the next sentence: "Kodak .... will launch a new, XML-based website in the first quarter of 2003." While XML alone doesn't say all that much, it really makes me think. For the non-techies out there (like me) blogging is based on XML coding. I'm taking this to mean, Kodak is giving web-voice ownership to its customers.

The possibilities are far-reaching. If I were running the Kodak marketing department, here's what I'd do. Allow customers to create Photo Blogs (or Photo Journals, not to scare the blogger-phobs away). Date-stamped, customers could keep photo blogs online, link to friends who have similar interests ... even create photo blogs around hobbies ... for example, a family who's kid swims competitively could post pictures (embarrassing as it may be to the poor kid) or their son's or daughter's achievements and link to other swimmers who have started similar blogs. .... thinking out loud now, but this is how Kodak could rebuild it's brand and start those high profit-margins again.

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