Kodak demonstrates why brands should tread carefully with blockchain initiatives

Fueled by the dramatic rise and, more recently, fall in prices of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether, the blockchain is all the buzz.

While some believe that cryptocurrencies are in a bubble the likes of which the world has never before seen, many, including major companies in a variety of industries, also believe that the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies has legitimate and meaningful uses that could benefit if not revolutionize the way they do business.

Pitney Bowes talks segmentation, trends, and data

Mailrooms are quickly becoming anachronistic features of corporate offices, but in their prime, they featured postage meters and beeping, blinking copy and fax machines bearing the Pitney Bowes logo. The company did very, very well.

But as physical communication methods became more digital, Pitney Bowes’ profits fell. Between 2008 and 2011, revenues slipped to $5.3 billion, a billion-dollar drop as US and European economies, its key markets, softened.

Competitors like Kodak went bust and Xerox nearly filed Chapter 11, but Pitney Bowes sought to evolve with the times by adding a robust suite of digital marketing products for B2B clientele intent on reaching audiences through email, social, and mobile channels.

What can we learn from Kodak’s demise?

Yesterday it was confirmed that Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York; the final chapter in a long and painful fall from market dominance in the 1980s.

This humiliating ‘Kodak moment’ came about largely because the camera brand failed to embrace digital technology.

How Mercedes uses online research communities to build advocacy

mercedes benz logoStill running focus groups? How very 20th century. An increasing number of organizations have moved consumer research online. Major brands including Godiva, ABC Studios, InterContinental Hotels, and Kodak, are conducting both qualitative and quantitative research digitally in private online communities. Sometimes, these initiatives extend offline as well, but the web is the core of the initiative.

We caught up with Joe Stauble who runs corporate strategy and market research for Mercedes-Benz USA to learn more about how the company is leveraging two online communities: Generation Benz, launched in 2008 and comprised of Gen Y consumers; and Mercedes Benz Advisors, a community of 1,795 baby boomers. Both community platforms were built by Passenger.

Q&A: Kodak’s Jeffrey Hayzlett on The Mirror Test

Thanks to the rapid growth of digital cameras — and camera-equipped smartphones — traditional camera makers have had to make a lot of changes over the past few years.

Eastman Kodak Company, for instance, went from selling $15 billion of
film five years ago to less than $2 billion last year. To counter that
shift, the company is working hard to transition from the analog to the
digital world.

One person who has been at the forefront of that shift is the company’s
Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Hayzlett. Kodak now does 70% of its
business in digital. In addition to marketing the brand, Hayzlett has
taken charge of changing the mood of his company. That campaign has
taken many formats, including multiple guest appearances on NBC’s
Celebrity Apprentice, where Kodak is a sponsor and participant.

Hayzlett’s long been a proponent of social media, and has used the
medium to change the way Kodak does business. From crowd sourcing
product names and features to various customer service initiatives,
Hayzlett has been so bullish on social that he created and hired for
the position of Chief Listening Officer to keep track of the brand

I’ve written about Hayzlett before, and the last post I did, about
Hayzlett’s notion of “emotional technology,” sparked a debate in
our comment section that questioned the validity of valuing listening
above sales. With Hayzlett’s book The Mirror Test coming out this week,
I decided to track him down and ask a few more questions on the matter.

Kodak’s CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett on emotional technology and how to use it

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a social media evangelist. As Kodak’s chief marketing officer, he’s led the company into new territory, reaching out to consumers online and changing the company’s structure in response. He’s hired Kodak’s first Chief Blogger and created the position of Chief Listening Officer, a role he thinks will be required at every major company in the near future.

Last year at the 140 Character Conference, he coined the term twankers. This year, he focused on the emotional technology at work in social media and how to use it.