Kodak – April Fools Day cautionary tale

Innovation consultant

Kodak was a household name. Everyone either knew of Kodak or owned one of their cameras. Their success was admired by brands worldwide.

Their success didn’t last forever. Over the course of a few short months, the brand started to disappear. Other brands, like Sony and Canon, took center stage. It wasn’t too long before younger generations were asking, “What’s a Kodak?”

Kodak failed. But how did such a successful company fall so hard in a very short period of time? The answer has a lot to do with their resistance to change.

Resistance to Change

Kodak invented the first digital camera in 1975. Most people don’t know this because it was kept secret. Why? They were afraid if they let anyone know about it, their film-based business would end. Unfortunately, not releasing that information ended up leading them to their fear.

Sony and Canon jumped on the chance to debut its digital technology. The surge was so strong after digital technology hit the market that Kodak couldn’t catch up to them when they tried.

Kodak knew digital was on the horizon, but it didn’t want to offer it to their market. They wanted to continue serving people the same products they always have, but here’s the problem: Times change. People change. Products change. Kodak didn’t change.

Knowing the Market to Serve the Market

Kodak had a chance to monopolize the market with digital technology long before any other brand even thought about it. They decided not to because they didn’t want to let go of their success.

Kodak’s success became their failure

The market was changing. People wanted something more from photography. If they weren’t willing to give it to them, they got it from another company.

What to Learn from Kodak’s Failure

Many business executives are resistant to change. They have achieved success and believe if they continue to run their business in the same way, they will continue to succeed.

This is the same mindset that led to the unfortunate demise of Kodak. Change is what caused Kodak to fail, and it can do the same thing to businesses now.

Market research and analysis should be a continuous process. Understanding how the market is changing is how businesses can evolve and continue their success.

The same can be said for technology. Technology is becoming more efficient and can produce what people seek in modern-day products and services. Businesses who are reluctant to incorporate the latest technologies into their operations and offerings will be at a disadvantage. Competitors who are evolving with technological advancements are able to provide more and for that reason, they will keep current customers and attract more.

How to Avoid Kodak’s Fate

It’s time to assess your business’s technologies to know if an update or upgrade is available. Turning to IT consultants for information on the latest advances and strategies can keep your business evolving with the market. This can prevent your business from suffering the same fate as Kodak and many other businesses.