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How Kodak Fell into the Marketing Myopia Trap

Updated: Feb 14

Margherita from VF

Author: Margherita Baraldi

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Date of Publication: 16/06/2023

In an ever-changing world, a brand's marketing strategy must be able to adapt to the "new" and not miss any opportunity for growth. But if marketing becomes myopic, what can that entail for a brand?


Marketing Myopia

The first to study this phenomenon was Theodore Levitt. In his book, "Marketing Myopia," he analyzed all those companies that had become obsolete because they were unable to correctly interpret their business.

In a nutshell, we can say that all those who fell into the Marketing Myopia trap weren't able to see how, both the market and their audience's needs, had changed. This is why it is crucial not to be short-sighted and observer or even grab any opportunities offered by the market.

Moreover, ignoring the consumers' new needs can come at a high price. On the one hand, you risk losing sight of your brand's missions and vision. On the other hand, competitors with a closer look will have the upper hand, taking advantage of the new opportunities offered.

A Case for Marketing Myopia: Kodak

The brandKodak is known for "inventing photography" in 1900, thanks to the Brownie camera. During its golden moment, Kodak had all the attributes of strong brand equity. This included a spread of brand awareness, an almost blind loyalty from its consumers and a strong reputation.

Overall, Kodak represented a symbol of unity, friendship and lasting memories. So, consequently, a leader in the photography market.

But what went wrong?

During the late 2000s, Kodak found itself surrounded by numerous competitors, the most prominent being FujiFilm. As a result, Kodak's values, deeply rooted in tradition, started creating a barrier to innovation. Specifically, we refer to the emerging technologies and the new way of thinking about photography.

This cultural gap was represented by both the price and the communication strategy. For example, when Fuji Film was promoting the 35mm camera at very affordable prices due to its declining demand, Kodak persisted with a premium pricing strategy. Convenience, ease and speed. These were the magical ingredients. However, all attributes that they didn't belong to Kodak.

Tips for avoiding Myopia


Rule #1

Always be up-to-date and willing to learn about the evolution of the market in which you operate.

Rule #2

Don't be afraid of the unknown, but accept it as a new and exciting opportunity for your brand.

Rule #3

Don't fall behind, look around, be curious, be informed, discover and invent!

Rule #4

Adaptation is the key.

Were you familiar with the Marketing Myopia phenomenon? Do you happen to remember if there are any other brand victims of it?


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