Kodak: What brands can learn

January 26, 2012, 11:09 AM GMT+0

Last week, struggling US firm Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection. But what can other brands learn from the demise of this historical icon?

Usually in this column I focus on how brands perform in the UK. But with the news last week that Kodak had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, this week I will look at what has happened to the famous company on the US version of BrandIndex, as it can reveal intriguing lessons on what other brands can learn from the camera firm's demise.

Kodak is 133 years old and we only have data going back four years, but even that reveals an interesting and striking pattern.

In August 2008, Kodak had an Index score (a composite of six attributes) of +47.

Since then it has seen a slow but steady decline and now sits at +36.

A subtle decline

It is surely possible to hypothesise that the slow fall in public perception has been going on for a much longer period of time and that they would have been at or near the top of a hypothetical BrandIndex in years gone by.

However +35 remains a very reasonable score and the attributes chart points towards a subtlety of Kodak’s decline.

The brand dropped quite steadily on product-related values such as quality. Until late last year though, it pretty much maintained its position on corporate reputation (asked by a proxy of whether people would be proud to work for the company).

This suggests to me that people still like Kodak, they just don’t see that it has a role to play in their lives anymore.

A well-known brand

Kodak remains a well-loved brand with high levels of public empathy but it has lost relevance in the digital world.

Many perceptions have fallen and however much people would like to see Kodak survive, they are not going to buy things they don’t want.

The Kodak story is a pertinent one for brands – the world changes and unless you change as well, you will struggle – no matter how much you are liked.

A version of this article appears in CityAM

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