Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

Kodak Shutters KODACHROME Film

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Yesterday, Kodak announced that is was ending production on the KODACHROME Color film after 74 years to the dismay, I am sure, of many professional and amateur photographers. Some may even say Kodak is making a mistake.

Too many times,  products are canceled without regard to its customers, dealers, fan base, shareholders or employees. Without succession plans for ending a products life or replacing them with new or better options, customers can be left confused and unsure of the company’s new direction.

But what Kodak has done right in its decision to end KODACHROME is to celebrate the iconic product on its way out. Several things appear that make me think Kodak has done its planning to make sure this product’s end-of-life is just as successful as the previous 74 years.

  1. Kodak made sure that the one and only lab in the world that can still process the film has agreed to offer processing through 2010. It won’t leave customers high and dry with unprocessed film.
  2. Kodak has created a gallery of iconic images to celebrate the film’s storied history at
  3. Kodak will donate the last rolls of film to George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, which houses the world’s largest collection of cameras and related artifacts. This reinforces a sense of nostalgia and firmly supplants Kodak as a pioneer in film technology.
  4. Kodak is allowing Steve McCurry to shoot one of those last rolls and the images will be donated to Eastman House. McCurry is the photographer whose picture of a young Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 captured the hearts of millions around the world.
  5. Kodak offers information on its next-generation of products for its customers to consider. Companies evolve and so do their products. Kodak is planning for the future by showing its new products while celebrating its history of its previous product.

Just think of all the products that will be shelved this year. Some will be replaced by newer models. Others will vanish along with their companies. And some may just need to go. A lot of these products won’t have had the foresight like Kodak to plan their succession. Will their customers adopt the newer product or go elsewhere? Will their customers feel shunned or hurt?

Kodak made the correct decision–and that was to plan for KODACHROME’s end-of-life with an understanding of its customers. For this, I feel, Kodak will be rewarded. You can read more about Kodak at their blog A Thousand Words.