Although this had been coming, it was still a shock to see a company which in 1976 had 90% of film and 85% of camera sales within America file for bankruptcy. Yet again we see a business where a good brand and longevity are no longer reliable proxies for continued success; an earlier blog lamented about Thomas Cook.
In its issue of 14th January 2012, the Economist magazine ran a great piece entitled ‘The Last Kodak Moment’. It compared Kodak and Fuji; both had similar market positions, both had similar products and both were faced with changes in technology. Whilst Kodak is bankrupt, Fuji is booming.
Essentially Fuji was quicker to react. The irony here is that Fuji behaved in a very American manner; i.e. cutting costs, re-organising, outsourcing production, leveraging the brand, with focus, purpose and determined leadership.
Kodak on the other hand (in some ways) behaved in a very Japanese manner. Slow to change the status quo, it did not act fast enough, it had a culture of a complacent monopoly coupled with inconsistent leadership.
Time and time again we urge clients not to take the future for granted. We warn against complacency and about the need to stay alert to external changes; this message has never been more clearly illustrated!!