More about the Kodak Photo University CD
Friday's BPL posting on the Kodak Photo
University CD brought an amazing amount of email into my box, both on and off
<<Jim, An excellent message on
all counts. Thank you!!>>
said Jim, well said.>>
I cannot take the
credit. The person who discovered this is Brian Barnett, an IPI member
from Barnett Photo Drop Off in Mankato, Minnesota. Brian brought it to
the attention of IPI members by posting something on The Forum. I don't
even know if Brian is on The BestPhotoList or not. I should have asked
him if he wanted to post, but I just got caught up in my keyboard. I
don't think I would have caught the "inkjet printing is as good as a minilab"
page if Brian hadn't given me the heads up.
Diliberto is one of the last executives who has actually set foot in a
specialty camera store. Don't bury the poor guy in CDs - he's one of the white
Absolutely - Joe is a
great person and he always has the best interest of Photo Specialty (that's
us) uppermost in his mind.
tried to back-off from the bashing of Kodak over the last several
I hope the original
posting didn't come off as Kodak bashing. I saw a monumental error and
tried to have some fun with it. I have a real life example of stupidity
- Three years ago my lab wanted to do all the outlab greeting card
business for another local lab (they weren't digital yet) so we made ten
designs that were exclusive to that lab. I created POS material with
"Available only at Desert West Photo" on it. Then the 5X7
proofs got filed in with another customer's order. Talk about oops!
(Granted, I didn't give it out to every one of my customers like Kodak did,
but I did directly accidentally solicit my customer to go to my
And I don't think that
there is really that much bashing of Kodak here on BPL. When we see
something that isn't right, we tell it like it is. When we tell it like
it is and Kodak listens, then Kodak ends up with a better product.
But in retrospect, I
attempted to be a little too whimsical with the original posting and some
things might have been considered in ways I hadn't meant for them to.
was in the process of considering going KICS, that is on hold now!!!>>
That would be cutting
off your nose to spite your face. I think enough body parts have been
damaged after Kodak shot itself in the foot on this CD - no need to add a
missing nose to the picture. Going KICS was the best thing my lab did -
you will make more money as a KICS dealer than as a not KICS dealer.
Keep in mind that the public has a very different perception of Kodak than we
as labs do. The public sees Kodak as a great big teddy bear that can do
And customers feel a kinship to Kodak. Take the
big 4 + 2 - Kodak, Fuji, Agfa, Konica plus Mitsubishi &
3M/Scotch/Ferrinia. Now tell me - who was the founder of each
company? I would guess that less than 5% of BPL can name more than
one of the founders. Even Chris Lydle [probably] can't name more
than three. How many of those six are American companies?
But guess what? Every KICS print wallet has
George Eastman's name and photograph on it. And if you
were to ask the same "Who Founded?" question to the general
public, a large percentage would know the answer in Kodak's case.
Consumers have a homey/Norman Rockwellish feeling about Kodak and being
able to call yourself a Kodak Image Center is some powerful branding.
Just FYI, immediately after we went KICS in 1997, the profit from the
increased sales of just retail items covered my KICS lease by a factor of
two or three. We actually created cash flow problems by moving
frames, film, and other retail items too fast.
or later the sleeping giant will awaken and have a hunger for our business
again, all we have to do is play it smart and be patient until then.>>
They want our business
now, they just have a hard time getting it right. And you have to admit
that they are trying. Were it not for just a few paragraphs, this CD
would be something great - something that Kodak is doing for us, the Photo
<<Take a moment and calculate the time you
spent on this matter, composing the E-mails, reading the E-mails, etc.>>
That's fun, not work!
<<I think the only rational
response is to write a concise, thoughtful letter to the CEO of Kodak. It's
unlikely that he will read it, but someone in his office will -- and if they
get more than one or two, it will make an impression.>>
Daniel A. Carp
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Eastman Kodak Company
343 State Street
Rochester, NY 14650
But remember, any letters sent should be short and
professional. If your letter is full of venom and anger (like some of
Friday's postings were) then the attitude of Kodak will be "See, we
really don't want to deal with this kind of retailer." A letter
pointing out the error of their ways, as exemplified by the CD, along with a
request to help Photo Specialty, would be more likely to be read and acted
A letter to Joe Diliberto thanking him for everything he
has done for Photo Specialty would also be a good idea. If he could go
into the next meeting with 75 or 100 snail mail letters from dealers showing
that we appreciate what he does would do wonders for our interests in the
Kodak corporate world.
<<Jim, shut up already>>
Well, nobody actually sent that to me, but it is a good
way to tell myself that I am sometimes overly verbose and busy people
probably don't make it to the end of my emails. One thing we have to
realize about Kodak is that they are a huge corporation. The right
hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Heck, the right hand
often thinks that it is an eyeball or ear and thinks that the left hand
controls seven of the ten toes.
There is no way that Kodak did this deliberately in order
to take our customers away from us. The company is just too big,
cumbersome and disjointed to attempt deliberate underhanded solicitation
between divisions. Plus the Photo Specialty division would have never
allowed it. I truly believe that if even one person in photo Specialty
saw those paragraphs the project would have been halted and adjusted
accordingly right then and there.
And Kodak did not create the CD. It came from a
company called Eric Mower and Associates ( www.mower.com
) and it appears that they have done many CD's for Kodak and Canon and
others. I'm guessing here, but Kodak contracted for a CD to be
developed and they didn't have much to do with it after that. I know
that my business has made some colossal errors in marketing to our
customers, I am sure your lab has too. Oddly enough, Kodak's only
fault in this whole thing was not carefully checking the contents of the CD
prior to release. What you want to bet that a time crunch caused
somebody to approve the CD without going through each and every page?
It took me over two hours to go through the entire CD, and by the way it is
an excellent CD.
We have all been there, done that - time pressure caused
us to do something that damaged a relationship with one or more of our
And we can all hope that Kodak learns something from this
and creates a better Photo Specialty division for it.
Jim's Photo Lab
El Paso, Texas