When you think of Kodak, you think of film. But the company is in no way antiquated.
Founded by George Eastman and Henry A. Strong in 1888, Kodak is now a global technology company focused on print, digital imaging, photographic materials, equipment and services, advanced materials and chemicals. The company provides hardware, software and services to customers in commercial print, packaging, publishing, manufacturing and entertainment.
Kodak is applying its materials science expertise, which has its roots in film manufacturing, to new applications ranging from touch sensors to 3D printing and beyond. Its licensing program leans into the brands’ heritage in photography and film, but it’s also widening its focus into cat-egories that are meaningful for the consumer.
“We’re looking for strong, long relationships,” says Clara Fort, vice president, global brand licensing, Eastman Kodak Company. “We’re not looking for any-thing opportunistic. We are looking for partners that are going to go the extra mile and bring their expertise to the brand portfolio.”
Kodak collaborated with Adesso for computer and office related accessories, which has seen an uptick in sales during the pandemic when people’s homes suddenly turned into offices.
“The ring lights were huge,” says Fort. “They’re not just for social media. Half of their customers use it for video conferences and online meetings – not just for content creation. We also had very good performance on home projectors and instant printers. People were looking for new ways of keeping busy while staying at home, so they’re playing a movie at home and having parties outside. There’s been a surge in crafting and scrapbooking, and so that went very well. Projector sales increased by 500 percent in the first quarter versus last year.”
Kodak is also in the smart home category. Its line of baby monitors and security cameras performed well in 2020, and saw an increase in sales last year as more people stayed home. “Parents had to work from home,” says Fort. “They have to look and know what the kids are doing in the room next door.”
Specific brand extension is a strategy that is working well for Kodak. Although Kodak reduced its licensees, the company reported that retail sales on branded products increased by 13 percent, reaching approximately $400 million throughout 90 countries in 2020. “We also used to have different tools for product approval and financial reporting,” says Fort. “We do better with less. We put in new marketing and finance management tools to streamline processes to make everyone’s life easier. We also give more to the licensee and we’ve increased asset space.”