The Kodak Comeback: Reviving a Historic Brand

This morning at FUSE 2015 in Chicago Steven Overman, the newly appointed CMO of Kodak and Author of “The Conscience Economy: How A Mass Movement For Good Is Great For Business,” talked to us about Kodak’s big comeback.

People all over the world of a certain age have deep associations of Kodak’s brand. Do you remember picking up those yellow envelopes? Many of us fondly remember those envelopes because our lives were inside them. Opening up the Kodak yellow envelope was like experiencing a moment in our lives all over again.

Today, times have changed and so have pictures. Now, we take so many pictures and post them all over social media platforms. As a result, images are getting commoditized. They are becoming worthless. But, maybe we take so many of them because of the opposite – because they are so important to us.

If you think about the roles that images played in our lives until recently, Kodak was truly the only company that made that possible. When you are the dominant leader, like Kodak, that is so core government, education, healthcare, families, you get huge. But, you also get rigid about what you are doing, according to Overman.

So, how did Kodak miss the digital photography moment? “Because they actually invented it,” he said. They made digital cameras and digital software, but film was still making so much money. Kodak still had its best year ever selling film.

Although Kodak invented many digital products, it was known for print. Today, we are actually still surrounded by print. Even if it’s not printed media, there are printed packaging, displays, etc.
“We are at the very, very beginning of the Kodak comeback,” said Overman.

One new concept is the “Kodak Minute” which is taking interesting relateable facts about how fast a 3D printing machine can print things. Building the credibility that Kodak is an amazing, scientific, engineering brand. This can get people interested even in some of Kodak’s interesting “geek list” stuff.

“As we mine our history, it has occurred to us to step backwards in order to go forwards,” he said. So, Overman and his team are digging into Kodak’s past and maintaining the core of what the brand stands for and people’s positive memories associated with the brand.

How do we know where we are going if we don’t know where we began? The original Kodak brand line was “You push the button. We do the rest.” If this statement is still powerful, then what is “the button”? And what is “the rest”? Because it’s not the same anymore.

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business AnalystsFront End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

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