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10 January 2005

Kodak come-back: a case of user centered strategy

In Kodak updates its brownie to compete in a digital age ($) (NYT, 27th December 2004), Saul Hansell tells the story of how Kodak, who was the first to manufacture a digital camera - Apple's QuickTake 100 in 1994 - grew from a market share of 5% of the US digital camera market in 2000, to a market share of 19% in 2004, closely behind market leader Sony.

Part of the reorganisation of the digital camera product line involved strategic decisions informed by in-depth customer behaviour research.

Kodak called in anthropologists and other social scientists, who observed camera users in an effort to learn how taking and printing pictures fit into their daily lives. They also followed prospective camera buyers into stores to understand how they chose certain models from the crowded shelves.

The company's big decision was to focus on low-priced, easy-to-use cameras that would appeal to women, who take the majority of snapshots, rather than Sony's forte - shiny toys for gadget-loving men.

Kodak's engineers developed a system meant to streamline the process of moving pictures off the camera, onto a computer and then either a printer, Kodak's Ofoto online printing service or e-mail. This involved new cameras, new software and an optional dock that cradled the camera, allowing it to recharge its batteries and transfer pictures to the computer at the same time.

Posted at 02:21 PM in Innovations | Permalink


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