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Streaming Media East Keynote: Kodak's Jeffrey Hayzlett

Kicking off Streaming Media East 2010, Jeffrey Hayzlett, chief marketing officer of the Eastman Kodak Company, talked about how Kodak is shifting from analog to digital, and from consumer to business, and how streaming is key to getting its message out.

Hayzlett, who is responsible for the company's PR and corporate affairs, as well as branding, said that Kodak has re-engineered itself to look forward to a new set of glory days.

"Some of our employees look back at the consumer film era as the glory days," said Hayzlett, "but we see our best days ahead."

For a company that has a long history in film, Kodak is moving more towards a capture-and-store model where its digital cameras-and more than 25,000 patents-are put to use in products as diverse as flash memory to light sensors to small portable video cameras.

"We used to spray gelatin on a film back for 21 layers of film to best capture light, so technology is in our blood," said Hayzlett. "But we needed brand transformation. After all, we're the company that pawned off the first digital camera on Apple 20 years ago. The new Kodak is about 60% business to business, with about 70% digital revenues, but we're still focused on imaging science and material science."

As a whole, the company is moving from the brand "A Kodak moment" to "Keep it Forever," as the company replaced $5 billion in film revenue-which has now dropped to $250 million-with significant digital revenues.

"We have 75 million users of our Kodak Gallery," said Hayzlett, referring to the paid photo-sharing site.  "We have 5 billion high-resolution images on Gallery, more than all other online photo sharing sites combined. Take that Facebook."

As Kodak moves to the new brand, several important aspects were maintained, while combatting some negative perceptions.

"We still want to retain the trustworthy, reliable and human connection to our customers, but we also want to lose the concept that we're traditional and not high-tech," he said.

After knocking the model number naming convention of his own product, the Zi8, Hayzlett said that the company is changing product names to better reflect what the products are used for, as well as adding features that users have requested.

For instance, a newer 720p camera that is water resistant, was supposed to be called the Zx3.

"I didn't want to have a product that could do what this one could do to leave the company with the name Zx3," said Hayzlett. "We had seven days to get the product out the door, so we opted to use Twitter to run a contest for naming the new product.  We had 28,000 names in less than four days, and more comments on our website than in the history of the company."

"We chose two names: Play and Sport," he said. "All our digital video products moving forward will now be known as Play, with a second part of the name as a descriptor of the product. With this water-resistant product that can capture HD video, Sport made sense."

"For the older Zi6, which lacked a microphone jack, we saw a Tweet that said we should add it," said Hayzlett.  "We did add it and the product is outselling the competition 10:1, and the competitor's newer product is lacking the microphone jack."

In addition, Hayzlett says speed to market is a part of the new Kodak.

"Our team is looking to reducing product-to-market at a factor of 10," said Hayzlett. "What used to take five years to bring to market now takes five months."

On the topic of streaming, Hayzlett said he's using a Step and Repeat model for the use of video in customer relations emails, on Facebook and on the internal/external websites.

The basis of the epiphany for using live streaming at events came from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, 2009.

"At CES 2009, I was doing media rounds, and I noticed I was doing more live interviews on the internet than I was with traditional media," said Hayzlett. "I wondered 'why aren't we doing this to extend our own messaging reach?' If I create my own content, and get a release to use the content, I will reuse the videos over and over on Facebook, emails and other forms of communications."

K-Zone debuted at Print 2009, a show at which Kodak used to send in very large printing presses. For that event, Kodak showcased a digital pipeline as the main part of its booth. Using a series of touch-sensitive flat panels lined up to look like a printing production line, in lieu of an actual printing press, Kodak allowed attendees to grab and manipulate images as they pass by.

"Many industry analysts and pundits were interviewed," he said, "and then, in turn, became interviewers for other industry movers and shakers. We also did it in front of a live audience; it was packed, and many couldn't get a seat."

At CES 2010, Kodak also used K-Zone.

"We had 30 live panels with 50 guests in K-Zone, all streamed live, with an audience of 100 or more in the booth every hour on the hour," said Hayzlett."We also tie in bloggers, social media stars, with topics including CMO (Chief Memory Officer), My Brand Name Is . . .,  and a View-like set for a female panel."

"We're very female focused, since that's who buys our products," he said. "Viewership spiked through the roof with a few key tweets, including one from @mrskutcher about her friend @moonfrye, who was on the panel. We ended up with 140 media placements and garnered 71,459,584 impressions over the course of CES."

Kodak also uses streaming in-house, including the employee contacts page.

"For our in-house yellow pages," said Hayzlett, "and we tie video interviews from our internal KodakTV video productions to an employee's name and contact info, so that employees can learn more about each others areas of expertise."

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