Brands are mind triggers

KodaklogoA well-known and positioned brand is a short-hand mind-trigger that is tremendously valuable. Is there any wonder that the Kodak brand has been licensed for digital cameras? While Kodak, the company, may have been unable to leverage the brand into a profitable product line, that says more about them than the value of the brand.

A company called JK Imaging has recently licensed the Kodak name for cameras. Brilliant. Instant mind trigger. While self-proclaimed branding expert Rob Frankel told USA Today that the brand would skew older, he also noted that “every generation grew up knowing Kodak.” Thus Kodak is a mind trigger for “camera” for virtually everyone and “older skewing” is likely invalid and irrelevant. All JK Imaging has to do is create great products because they have THE camera brand. No need to invest in creating a mind trigger with their brand, they have one.

This is reminiscent of my prior employer Teledyne and their sale of the Packard Bell brand to a company that wanted to create consumer computers. That company did VERY well until they thought they could reposition a consumer brand into a business brand. Assuming JK Imaging negotiated a good deal (the terms have apparently not been disclosed), they should do well with this, unless they mess up the products they choose to call Kodak.

Kodak should have also owned the photo printer paper market, but that’s another sad story of brand and company mismanagement. Maybe somebody will license that mind trigger too.


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