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Why Social Media at Kodak – Tom Hoehn’s Presentation at BDI

July 20, 2010

Even though Jeff Hazelett is now gone, Kodak’s commitment to social media as the channel of choice for two-way dialog with consumers continues. Recently I had a chance to meet Tom Hoehn, Director, Interactive and Web Marketing at Eastman Kodak, who, along with Jenny Cisney, Kodak’s Chief Blogger grace the cover of Kodak’s Social Media Tips  booklet (PDF). Tom attended Business Development Institute’s half-day event on Search and Social Media Leadership.

Tom Hoehn presenting at Business Development Conference, July 2010, NYC

I knew Kodak was active in social media particularly at events, but I did not know the original reason Kodak decided to develop their social media program. As a long time leader in photography the Kodak brand was associated with analog photography and did not get credit for innovating in other areas of their business including the digital photography space. Participating in social media gave Kodak a chance to take that innovation story directly to consumers primarily through their blogging activities (Hoehn is very proud of the fact that since they started blogging Kodak did not miss a day of publishing on their blog.)

Ongoing Stream of Social Media Content

How does Kodak ensure they have enough valuable content for their social media channels (blogs in particular)? Similarly to “Nuts about Southwest” blog,  Kodak employs a distributed authorship model for their “Kodak: A Thousand Words” blog. What does this mean? They have a group of authors from various functions and business units within the corporation and tap into their collective content generating power to ensure steady stream of new posts. This is also a very compelling model of social media governance. Kodak corporate firmly controls social media channels (employing a centralized model of governance) yet it makes it super easy for employees to contribute to these channels as authors of individual content pieces.

Listening is Key in Kodak’s Social Media Strategy

To highlight the importance of social media being a two-way conversation, Hoehn mentioned that his social media team recently grew to incorporate a new member of the social media team, Kodak’s Chief Listening Officer (got to love this title). The importance of listening was also highlighted in Kodak’s social media strategy that Hoehn was happy to share with the group.

Kodak's Social Media Strategy presented during BDI's conference in NYC, July 2010

Kodak's Social Media Strategy - Tactics - presented during BDI's conference in NYC, July 2010

What’s the outcome of Kodak’s effort in social media?

Kodak increased their share of voice from 19% (compared to competitors’ 79%) to 56% (compared to competitors’ 42%). Brand research shows that Kodak is being viewed as a leader in their industry and the Kodak brand is being associated with attributes such as dynamic and innovative. For Hoehn, that’s mission accomplished.

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