22 January 2012 0 Comments

Brand Communication: How to avoid death trap

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Kodak.kodak and bankruptcy, death of kodak, Brand and innovation, brand and creativityA brand’s life, like that of human is full of dynamics. Not obeying these dynamics as at when due makes life worthless. It is no longer news the great brand-Kodak, is gone and never to remain relevant again. The hand writing on the wall was obvious for this former strong analog film brand. It had lot of chances to position itself as world leader but the brand mismanaged several opportunities. It kept hovering in the dark as the leader and before it woke up to the reality, the world had gone ahead living the brand in a ‘stone-age’ it hoped it still belonged. Left with no option, it declared bankruptcy last week.

One thing I will ever remember about this great brand is that it was the leading brand that pioneered digital-camera. Based on my research, Kodak was the first to come out with digital camera in 1975. Unfortunately, it refused to promote this because it was not considered as anything big. Other reason people claimed was that the brand did not want to damage its flourishing analog film and printing market. Another report also claimed, this accounted for why the brand refused to fully promote its second initiative of Dc40 brought to the market in 1995. This was long before any other competitor showed up at all. Kodak wasted very great opportunity to become real market leader it was and today, the inscription on the Kodak tomb will read: here lies great brand with very vital potential but refused to capitalize on it.

For brands to capitalize on its potential, it must not relish on what feels suitable to it but what the market wants. It is also good to get the customers’ mood right. If this is true, a brand may inadvertently misinterpreted market forces. All these vices will damage brand authority, equity and relevance. It is never a wise decision to focus on any product line without adequate foresight about market trend and changes in the environment. Kodak over- depended on film and printing to a fault. As we know, focus as good as it may lead to blindness. When they made a discovery which could transferred the brand to stardom, the brand ignored the signal.

Below are some deathtraps to avoid.

Never ignore the signals: each age throws up new challenges and opportunities. If a brand refuses to observe these signals, it will be a matter of time.

Great ideas are worth giving a trial: if all that we heard is true, imagine the digital camera idea that was discovered since 1975. How much influence and changes Kodak would have brought to this world if it had given it a trial? Kodak could have thought that would damage its present market then. Brand communicator, custodian should never be too myopic in their thinking.

Maximize opportunity through market research: people do say opportunity comes but once. Kodak had a second chance with introduction of its digital camera DC40 in 1995. Unfortunately again, it did not do enough research in terms of what the market wanted in terms of designs, feel in addition to features the competitors pushed out to the same market. Innovation with a little creativity could have helped them remained on top.

Stop investing in a product brand without due diligence: Kodak kept investing on photo printers-large and home/personal, when it was obvious many keep their photo online (soft copy)and only print few they really care about. The new development in technology use as well as advent of web 2.0 around late 90s and especially in 2001 and beyond was clear sign to diversify into future market.
What is your opinion and what is your brand doing today that may hinder its future relevance?

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