Image via Wikipedia
Kodak has stepped up its advertising in the printing segment with a campaign that promises a high quality printer that uses lower cost ink (previous campaigns promised savings of $110 per year). While the strategy has a logic to it, I'm not sure it has ever worked as a practical consumer proposition. It relies on consumers to do some math which at best is somewhat vague. I applaud Kodak's initiative in terms of coming up with a differentiated value proposition vs. market leader HP, but I'm not sure how compelling it is. I assume that the Kodak research department demonstrated that the position will get them into a solid #2 or #3 position against Canon.
I'm surprised that they didn't select a new brand name for their line of printers. Kodak is the leader in digital cameras and at best a 3rd or 4th place brand in printers. By promoting printers, they confuse the market since now Kodak is a #1 or #2 camera brand (or film brand?) and a #4 printer branded, which is some sort of odd hybrid requiring a rethink of what Kodak stands for. They probably think of themselves as an imaging company, but consumers do not go to the store looking for one, so it is equally odd (yes I know that Kodak makes high end commercial printing equipment, and yes it doesn't matter). Unfortunately, the heavy emphasis on consumer printers will probably depress camera sales as it undermines the credibility of Kodak in this space.
If I were launching a line of Kodak printers, I'd consider an alternative brand that stands for premium quality low cost printing. In small type you can indicate that it is a Kodak company. I'd go head to head with the market leader that demonstrates print quality and the specific savings an average family would achieve. Then you could bundle the #1 camera with a printer that offers great value. Under Kodak's current strategy, you can get a #1 camera, with a #3 printer, kind of a middle of the road value, from a middle of the road branding strategy.