Kodak recently announced that they expect to come out of bankruptcy this year. Founded by George Eastman in 1888, Kodak became a cherished household brand name, and the “Kodak Moment” entered the American cultural lexicon.
It’s really sad to see what happened to them. Today Kodak is merely a shell of the company it used to be.
Kodak’s Fork in the Road Moment
Ten years ago, I happened to have a ringside seat at Kodak as they were wrestling with what to do about their future. Initially, I had been hired to create an external positioning and marketing campaign targeting Wall Street. The stock price was languishing, and they wanted to announce how they were innovating around digital.
I went to Rochester and met with their senior marketing team and the innovation group. After looking at their digital pipeline – the “naked truth” of their digital capabilities – I recommended that they not approach Wall Street at that time. They weren’t ready to go digital in an authentic and sustained way and if they made that claim, they would lose all credibility once results came out in a quarter or two.
Instead I recommended that we focus on building a comprehensive internal communication plan that would change the mindset of the organization from print to digital. Bureaucracy to innovation.