It’s a great shame that Kodak joins household names such as Saab, Woolworth’s, Readers Digest, Ferranti, Sinclair and giants of British motorcycle industry. Kodak and “Kodak moments” have been an integral part of my life and the lives of millions of others.
Their film has recorded triumphs and tragedies, laughter and tears; it has captured the very best and the worst of humanity, providing an important archive for generations to come.
As an eight year old child, I started taking photographs with a box camera, carefully loaded with rolls of Kodak black and white film and then processed on their paper. I graduated to a Kodak Instamatic camera and after that a succession of SLRs, all of which had Kodak film at their heart.
The Kodak brand dates back to the eighteenth century. With such long established corporations, it is not uncommon for a culture of arrogance or perhaps even complacency to become embedded. While the company experimented with digital imaging in the nineties, they spectacularly failed to recognise the revolution taking place around them.
It’s a marketing aphorism that customer needs don’t change but the ways of satisfying those needs do. How true this is in the case of Kodak.
Where was the market research? What were their customer surveys telling them? How could they allow their organisational culture to become so complacent?
This is a salutary warning for companies of all sizes.