What the Content Industry can Learn from KODAK’S Decline


The Eastman Kodak company was formed in 1889 and soon grew to become an American success story. It dominated the photography scene through most of the twentieth century and was at one time ranked as the fourth most valuable brand in the world. Its iconic tagline of ‘A Kodak moment’ was one of the most used expressions in photography. All that has changed now and the photography dinosaur is on its way to extinction. With more than $ 6 billion in debt, the Kodak Company filed for bankruptcy last year.

KODAK’S Decline

Here are some lessons the content industry can learn from Kodak’s decline:

1. Keep up with the times:

The greatest mistake that Kodak did was not to keep up with the changes that were happening around them. The first digital camera was actually invented by Kodak in 1976, yet they did not have the foresight to invest in and develop it. The world around us is forever evolving with new technologies and trends developing every day. Content that is relevant and up to date is the need of the hour. Don’t be stuck in the past, instead stay ahead of the times.

2. Don’t rest on past laurels:

Kodak’s film business was so profitable that it ignored the digital revolution. Their greatest strength unfortunately turned out to be their greatest weakness. The content strategies you employed may have brought you success in the past, but with search engine algorithms becoming smarter and more intelligent, using the same old techniques could see you dying a slow death.

3. Avoid complacency like the plague:

Many within the Kodak organization saw the decline coming, yet the upper hierarchy were so complacent that they did not heed the voices of warning. Only in 2003 did they stop investing in film and focus on digital technology, but by then it was too late. Content marketers need to constantly check their ROI to see what is working and what is not. If an area of your strategy is showing signs of weakness, don’t think that it will fix itself.

4. Never forget the customer:

Kodak ignored the most important part of a business-the customer. They failed to take into account the changing needs of their customers with the advent of smart phones and social media that revolutionized photography and photo sharing. Your content is ultimately intended for your customer. If your content does not provide customer satisfaction, they are sure to look for it somewhere else.

Kodak’s decline is a confirmation that nothing stays the same. You could be a king one day and a pauper the next. Let us not ignore the lessons that we can learn from them- after all as the saying goes, ‘A wise man learns by the mistakes of others, a fool by his own.’

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