Two Kodak Moments to Consider
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5 January 2012Bob Meara
Few global brands have created the equity of Kodak. For decades, Kodak was synonymous with family memories and led the world in intellectual capital related to imaging – in both chemical and digital realms. Kodak is a household name if there ever was one. For example, the colloquialism, “Kodak Moment”, refers to a rare, one time, moment that is captured by a picture, or should have been captured by a picture. In its own stunning Kodak Moment, it appears the company is facing likely bankruptcy. Once a US$16 billion annual revenue juggernaut, the company now fights for survival. Another Kodak Moment comes with a picture. Georgia-based RaceTrac is opening a new store today in an Atlanta suburb that company leaders say will serve as the prototype for all new RaceTrac stations. At 6,000 square feet, the new store is one-third larger than the typical station and includes new features such as free wireless Internet access, indoor and outdoor seating, expanded food and beverage offerings, a frozen yogurt bar, and a walk-in “beer cave” room for chilled beer. On the outside, the store looks vastly different from a typical gas station, with such features as stone columns and stacked-stone accents. “It’s really something you’ve never seen in a convenience store,” said spokeswoman Sherri Scott, who compared it to a mini grocery store. “The whole goal is to take you back to the idea of a neighborhood store versus a traditional gas station.” The company, headquartered in the Atlanta area, operates more than 300 gas stations in four states. [caption id="attachment_2668" align="aligncenter" width="340" caption="RaceTrac's New Prototype Store"][/caption] What do these two Kodak Moments have to do with banking? Nothing and everything. Neither is directly related to banking, of course. But, both are examples of established entities challenging their operating models – or not. For Kodak, making strategic investments in digital imaging that would cannibalize its film business was a tough decision – one it waited way too long to make. Retail banks face a similar challenge in “alternative” channel innovation when doing so will cannibalize branch traffic. In contrast, RaceTrac is challenging what it means to operate a convenience store. It’s doing so when the complexion of the average c-store hasn’t changed much in the past few decades. Sound familiar?