Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Strategy that Packs Whack!

Ever wonder why the price of most printers has dropped to bargain basement levels?

It's called a loss leader.

In other words, many companies will sell you the printer dirt cheap only to get you hooked and paying through the nose on ink cartridges. That's where the real money is.

One company has decided to stay out of that game. And adopt a different strategy.

In an earlier post(August 8, 2008), I talked about the powerful effects of the re-branding initiative underway at Eastman Kodak, led by VP of Business Development, Jeff Hayzlett. He is the guy who stood his ground in a war of wills with Gene Simmons on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice", beleiving his vision of a Kodak world is more sharply focused and in touch with what's going on than the KISS co-founder and proven marketing genius. It would appear recent events are proving Hayzlett right as he navigates through a transformation strategy that is allowing Kodak to bridge from a 20th-century product into a 21st-century brand experience.

Here is an example of how this strategy is impacting the message Kodak is sending to the world as one of Simmons "Celebrity Apprentice" co-stars Vinny Pastore takes out his frustrations on companies that subject consumers to high ink prices.

Interesting to note that Kodak was able to parlay its placement on “Celebrity Apprentice” into a 50% increase in sales of consumer inkjet photo printers in the week after the show. According to Hayzlett, Kodak was able to generate 4.4 mentions per minute of its "Easy Share" product over the length of the 43-minute episode. While Canon, Epson, HP and many others are locked into similar loss-leader strategies, Kodak is playing on a different field taking, with a different approach -one with vast consequences on the "message" being sent to consumers.

Have you ever stopped to think about the connection between your "strategy" and how it impacts the "message" you are sending?

Can you see where the high number of weak, predictable ads filled with the blah, blah, blah of white noise (friendly & knowledgable staff, quality, selection and low prices, etc) can be linked to an equally weak or copycat strategy?

What have you noticed lately about unique business strategies that drive a remarkable brand message and customer experience?


1 comment:

Ian said...

I once received a free Lexmark printer when I purchased a Dell computer. A few months later I was shopping for replacement ink cartridges for the Lexmark and, much to my astonishment, I found that I could buy a brand new Lexmark printer (cartridges included) for less than I could buy the cartridges alone. I felt sick. I felt like I was being ripped off and I've never forgotten that feeling (or purchased another Lexmark product).

Your most recent post to the blog struck a nerve with me. Three cheers for Kodak...I hope that they are rewarded for their foresight. Great post! I hope that business owners read that post and think about how they treat their customers. I'd love to see something someday on the way that airlines disrespect their customers with their pricing. Air Transat offers a fare from Fredericton to London (U.K.) for an advertised price of $199 one-way (plus $444 in taxes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). Air Canada is no better. You can't buy it for $199, so why advertise it for that?

Again, three cheers to Kodak for speaking to the customer and thanks for the post.