Page 5: Customer focus
True to its vision and mission, Kodak has built every part of its photography system around the consumer. By speaking to customers every step of the way, Kodak has designed its best ever camera range. Instead of providing prototype cameras, Kodak supplied blank blocks of wood and asked them to place controls, such as the viewfinder and LCD panel, where they seemed most comfortable. These preferences guided the camera design, which in some instances is quite different from traditional cameras.
- The LCD panel is situated on the back of most ADVANTIX cameras so that the information can be seen adjacent to the viewfinder.
- The shutter release is on the right and the switch that selects different print formats is on the left. This allows the format to be changed and the shutter clicked without moving the camera.
- Exposure counters and LCD panels display the number of frames remaining on the film cassette, adopting a count down rather than count up approach.
Evaluating the new product
A truly market conscious company will identify the benefits consumers want, produce the goods which supply these benefits, check that consumers are happy with these benefits and then find out what further benefits are required. The case study so far has focused on the first two parts of this virtuous circle. To close the circle, Kodak has researched the levels of consumer satisfaction.
The results show that consumers around the world have already given the Advanced Photo System the thumbs up. Kodak has tested the concept and products in 40 consumer studies across 11 countries and the research findings have been extremely positive. In recent trials, hundreds of consumers were given KODAK ADVANTIX films and cameras to try for two weeks.
A major problem faced by computer companies in the last 20 years has been that of incompatibility. Rival companies developed their own hardware and software in order to corner an exclusive share of the total market. However, in doing so they restricted their total market share. In recent times they have seen the folly of their ways and are setting up compatible systems. They are regretting their earlier lack of vision.
In order to avoid this folly, Kodak has worked to create compatibility for its new photographic systems. In 1991, Kodak led a group of five photographic industry leaders to develop this new Advanced Photo System, which it is believed will rival the great developments in photographic history, such as the introduction of the Brownie camera in the first year of the twentieth century. This industry co-operation ensured that all System products, whichever the manufacturer, would be compatible from the outset. More than forty additional companies in the UK alone have now licensed the standards to develop Advanced Photo System products and services.