A Blog by Jonathan Low


Dec 27, 2014

Old Brands Never Die: The Kodak Moment Returns

What would you rather be really selling? A product, a piece of plastic? Or something that will endure

Like a Kodak moment.

The device may be the means, but the memory is the end. And whether it's a camera or something else, technology and innovation have given any number of companies the ability to reimagine their products.

Kodak made devices for consumers that have been supplanted by newer technology. But the most enduring and valuable product was 'the Kodak moment' - the ability to capture important moments for personal enjoyment - and even posterity. The biggest challenge is usually not the operational, logistical and technological issues but the will to convince - or remind - others of the ultimate purpose. JL

Matthew Daneman reports in USA Today:

Kodak Moments, these are things that are important to our customers.
Consumers soon will be seeing products beyond film bearing the Kodak brand.
Though Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE: KODK), which once made products from digital cameras to Bayer aspirin, now is focused exclusively on printing-related equipment and technology, it is an iconic name.
"It was difficult to find a brand that resonated — family values, taking care of loved ones," said Ronald Pace, senior vice president of business development and operations at video monitoring technology company Seedonk Inc., which signed a deal with Kodak last year that will see it put out its Kodak Baby Monitoring System in early 2015. "Then the Kodak opportunity came up. Kodak Moments, these are things that are important to our customers."
Those yellow boxes of Kodak 35-millimeter film? They're made for Kodak spinoff Kodak Alaris.
Kodak stopped making digital cameras in 2012 as part of its bankruptcy. Sakar International of Edison, N.J., launched a line of Kodak camera and photo accessories in 2013, and Los Angeles-based JK Imaging secured the digital-camera licensing agreement the same year.
Licensing is big business for Kodak. In its most recent fiscal quarter, such brand licensing and intellectual property agreements added up to $51 million in earnings before certain expenses.

While it traditionally has favored one-time, upfront payments when signing such licensing deals, Chief Executive Jeff Clarke told Wall Street analysts last month that Kodak is going to focus more on revenue-sharing annuity deals, and to expect more licensing agreements.
"There's many, many products out there that we believe will be relevant to the consumer with the Kodak brand on it. We see this as untapped opportunity. We've added some resources in this area."
With Chief Marketing Officer Steve Overman now overseeing licensing, "We believe it will have a lot more energy," Clark said.
Some of the licensing arrangements that will be on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show next month go back years, as in the case of Rochester-based KMG Digital, which in 2010 signed a deal giving it the exclusive worldwide licenses to the Kodak name for media products such as blank
CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
Others are far newer. London's Bullitt Group, which specializes in making consumer electronics under other companies' brands, announced this week it plans to come out with a variety of Kodak electronics in 2015, including a tablet computer and Android smartphone.

Seedonk's Pace declined to talk about the financial terms of the licensing agreement
with Kodak. But the cost of the Kodak brand paled in comparison to the marketing weight it carries, he said.
"There's so much noise out there, so many gadgets and things popping up right and left," Pace said. "The one thing people are looking for is something they can trust. It's hard to build a brand from scratch and get that trust … without spending millions and millions of dollars for promotion.
"This was a superior way to go," he said. "It's a pretty good investment compared to what Kodak offers."
Meanwhile, the company tweaked the video monitor on its baby-monitoring system because of suggestions from Kodak's imaging-quality experts.
"They're been helping us create a better product," Pace said. "I plan on working (with Kodak) as long as I can, for many years."


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