Great legacies are made of this. And when it is Kodak, you can very well imagine the aura, the impact and the magnitude. Integrating the inherited, with the power, intelligence and vision that Alaris stood for has been a challenging and engaging journey for Gregoire de Clercq, EAMER Marketing Director at Kodak alaris. Here in a freewheeling conversation with BrandKnew, he takes us through this fascinating journey:
BrandKnew (BK). Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I hail from Belgium. I have 15 years of experience in the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) industry. My specialties include B2B and B2C marketing, digital marketing and social media,. I am passionate about ICT, technology and innovation.
BK. Kodak is synonymous with imaging – What does the Kodak Alaris signify?
Kodak Alaris was created on September 3, 2013 after spinning off from Eastman Kodak Company We are passionate about using technology to transform organizations and improve people’s lives across the planet. From our document scanners and intelligent state-of-the-art software and services that power some of the world’s largest companies, to our photographic paper production, printing kiosks and suite of consumer apps, we’re on a mission to unlock the power of images and information for the world. We push the boundaries of technology and help our customers make sense of and exploit the ever-expanding volume of data that is the hallmark of the 21st century. The Information Management division of Kodak Alaris was set up to help organizations deliver the right information to the right people at the right time and across the right channels, with an essential role for intelligent document recognition, business processes automation and intelligent information management overall.
BK. The Digital thunderstorm has shaken up the imaging industry in both good and not so good a manner- where do you see your brand in this mega upheaval?
Digital transformation is an ongoing and accelerating wave. Early 2016, Kodak Alaris Information Management, a global provider of information management solutions, started a brand repositioning project. The overarching theme revolves around the challenges that all businesses face with digital transformation. Dealing with digital information can be complex and chaotic, leading to a loss of productivity and efficiency. From the preparation of documents, to the capture of information from paper, to the routing of data into a business process, to finally collecting and dealing with the hard copy documents after scanning. Not to mention the various places that data can be input from or output to, such as mobile, cloud, ECM systems, and other repositories as part of the process. This is where Kodak Alaris Information Management (KA-IM) is now playing a leading role: in the digital transformation of its worldwide customer base. It does so by providing the hardware, software, and services to reduce the cost and effort needed to rein in the complexity of information management, thereby transforming data into a real competitive advantage.
BK. What kind of brand strategy do you adopt?
Brand strategy is of great significance to our company. We have the great asset of the legacy of Kodak. But it comes with its own challenges. We, Kodak Alaris have to differentiate ourselves and create a new brand identity and equity. This is an ongoing challenge as we could be considered as a startup with a legacy of delivering B2B solutions. At the end of the day, we have to invest in our future & vision. Also, it is very critical that the message of our brand is conveyed clearly to potential customers.
BK. Big Data, Small Data, Analytics seem to be dominating the business and marketing landscape. How is the Kodak Alaris brand leveraging this opportunity?
The ever-increasing flood of data, and how we manage it, is one of the greatest opportunities facing businesses and governments in the 21st century. The challenge with big data, other than the obvious fact that it is big, is that so much of it is unstructured. Today, at least 90% of business data – approximately 35 Zettabytes – is unstructured. By 2020, we will be able to fill 8 trillion DVDs with new data each year. The struggle among businesses to extract meaningful information from unstructured data is universal. Data is ubiquitous and is embedded in countless formats. It’s in our email, paper documents, online posts, videos and more. Most of the time it’s free form, in every format except the neatly organized rows and columns of a database. We refer to this as ‘data chaos’ — the point where the size and growth of unstructured data vastly outpaces structured data, presenting significant obstacles to operational efficiency, responsiveness to customers and profitable growth.
To raise awareness about the newest ways to combat data chaos, Kodak Alaris has launched a series of high-impact marketing initiatives. First, we carefully crafted a business narrative describing The Era of Data Chaos to articulate the challenges and opportunities for organizations attempting to make sense of the tsunami of information, which continues to grow exponentially. The systems and strategies designed to manage structured data are insufficient to capitalize on the opportunity presented by unstructured data. The exploitation of unstructured data represents too great an opportunity for businesses to ignore. Business narratives are critical for organizations to create a clear purpose that resonates with what the market needs. For Kodak Alaris’ IM division, that purpose is to provide the science, technology, services and partner ecosystem needed to drive business growth for customers in the era of data chaos.
BK. Which is the biggest market for the Kodak Alaris brand?
From a geographical point of view, we are a global company. We have presence in USA, Canada, Latin America countries, Middle East, Europe, India, China and Australia among other countries. In certain markets we find more opportunities for hardware solutions. In various advanced markets, we focus on providing software solutions to help various companies to classify and extract information or to make information structured.
For us, opportunities are everywhere. There is no one geo that is more important than the others. That being said, Middle East has been a key region for us. This market has been accelerating and we intend to continue to focus on this market.
BK. Tell us a bit about your presence in the EMEA Footprint
We have offices in London, Germany, Paris, Netherlands, Dubai, Hungary etc. Also, through our ecosystem – through distributers and partners, we are very well connected all over this region. If you take into account all the services we provide – including maintenance, consultation etc., we definitely have a significant presence in the region.
BK. Market and consumer dynamics are changing ever so rapidly with the confluence of technology, social media, digital eco systems etc. How does the Kodak Alaris brand stay on top of these tectonic shifts and leverage the positives emerging from such an environment?
Data and communication is undergoing a digital transformation. From a marketer’s point of view, 15 -20 years back, advertising was done mainly by placing ads in newspapers and magazines – advertising was purely offline in those days. Then digital marketing came on board – thanks to the proliferation of the internet. Then it created a different channel of communication through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc. These all changed the way we handle communication.
We at Kodak Alaris, have been dynamically involved in the digital revolution. We have strong presence in social media. We engage with influencers, various online communities etc. – and all of these activities are part of building our brand equity and brand story. For this, we utilise media like video, live feeds, provide direct responses online etc. – these are also part of our strategy. We continue to invest in these channels to promote our brand across EMEA and across the world.
BK. What is the most used marketing platform in your marketing mix? Why?
60-80% of our buyers’ journey passes through online. Most of our customers, when we interact with them, already have an idea about what they want to buy. Also, there has been a shift of focus from offline to online marketing in our company.
There is this trend of allocating more budget to online marketing and there is definitely a shift in balance. But, Digital Marketing cannot replace face to face conversation, or say, an article in a popular printed magazine. It is all about having the right mix that brings success and not just one channel or the other.
BK. In terms of brand recall for Kodak Alaris in the MENA region, where would you place the brand on a scale of 1 to 10 vis-à–vis being in the consideration mind set?
I am sure that Kodak Alaris could be easily placed at 8 or higher on a scale of 10. We are well known for quality & innovation and we are a premium brand. The present challenge we face is to stay at the top, as needs in the market are constantly changing. We have to bring perpetual innovation and enhance value for customers without losing our standard for our products to remain at the top.
BK. In the coming year, what are the new products that we can expect from Kodak Alaris?
Technology will continue to evolve and we will strive to ensure that Kodak Alaris is able to provide high end products aligned with the evolution of technology. These days, for the digitilisation of documents, companies need high volume of documents to be scanned. Kodak Alaris provides machines that are capable of managing high volume of documents. This technology is able to not only scan the documents, but also, to extract data. We will continue to invest in that path.
There is a growing trend of requiring more and more scanning at the point of origin, where documents enter an organization (e.g. corporate mailroom, credit card application, insurance claim, resume/employee onboarding) and we will continue to invest in distributed capturing solutions to address this requirement.
We just released this year a driverless scanner – 1150 / 1190 Wireless Network. There will be more and more innovation in this area to further improve scanner efficiency – to provide ‘in a box’ solutions. This is also an area where we will continue to invest.
We’ve made a commitment to being a ‘Cloud-First’ company (not a ‘Cloud only’ company) as the trend towards cloud computing is starting to accelerate. We’ve seen a lot of our enterprise customers moving some of their core components of their business like finance, HR etc to the cloud and we need to constantly shape our offerings as per what the market demands.
BK. As we wind down, could you please share what do you love pursuing in your (limited)spare time?
As I said earlier, I am passionate about ICT and innovation in technology. I am tech-savvy. I like to get my hands on the latest gadgets. I like to follow new trends in technology like connected watch, Smart TV, latest application etc. I am also really passionate about sports and more specifically in Tennis and sailing. Being in a digital economy in a digital world, sometimes one has to spend time in the real world. I love spending time with my family and friends.
Interview conducted and written by Sreejish Lal, Digital Marketing Advisor @ ISD Global
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