With so many companies making missteps in social media, it's always nice to be able to point out those doing it right. Kodak is one such company that seems to understand the new rules of engagement being written online.
When a reviewer at the Boston Globe gave Kodak's soon-to-be released pocket video camcorder a glowing review in terms of function and form but an F for an ungainly product name – Zi8 – the company turned it into something positive. It opened an online naming contest for the camera, and offered a few lucky participants a free camera, and the winner a trip to January's Consumer Electronic Show, a coveted mecca for the gadget obsessed and early adopter set.
The net benefit to Kodak's savvy response is several-fold. First off, it managed to diffuse a criticism instead of heap fuel on the fire, as some companies might have reacted when a reviewer writes: “When Kodak needed a name for its new pocket video camera, its marketing geniuses came up with something dreadful: the Zi8.”
Secondly, it reacted quickly and within the rules set by, arguably, its target audience for the gadget. It candidly blogged about the incident and then asked the community for help, and as a bonus it offered the kind of prize that would appeal to that customer base.
Kodak's chief blogger, Jenny Cisney, wrote on its blog:
“Maybe we don't have the answer. Maybe YOU do! We are asking people on Twitter and on this blog to tell us... what do you think the next Kodak pocket video camera should be called?... So give it some thought, talk it up and kick it around.”
It listened, responded, and engaged-- all in a low-key tone.
Lastly, the way in which Kodak bridged the gap between traditional media (Boston Globe) and social media (its blog, Twitter), demonstrated its understanding of how these worlds are really one big blended family.