JK Imaging Keeps the Kodak Position While Exploring New Value Opportunities
JK Imaging is the worldwide licensee of Eastman Kodak; it manufactures and markets digital cameras and devices under the Kodak PixPro brand. The Gardena, California, company’s story began in 2012.
At the time, Kodak was reorganizing and a group of diverse camera industry professionals saw an opportunity to create a sales-and-marketing company to obtain the Kodak license. JK Imaging was launched to engineer, manufacture, sell and market Kodak PixPro digital cameras worldwide.
Setting a Strategy
From listening to customers and retailers, JK Imaging found an enduring positive buzz about Kodak. Apparently, with technology evolving quickly, a lot of camera manufacturers eliminated models and even camera features. As a result, a segment of consumers who still wanted a stand-alone camera, without relying on a mobile device alone, were left behind.
The migration of smartphone users toward social media further transformed the photography landscape.
“With many consumers not only interested in shooting for Instagram, we saw a marketing opportunity; especially with the Kodak halo and loyal following,” says Paul Meyhoefer, JK Imaging’s senior vice president for Sales & Marketing.
“Many travel and adventure people, as well as vacationers, want the ability to bring along a dedicated camera in addition to a mobile device, especially for magnificent scenery or once-in-a-lifetime trips. And they often plan to make prints for wall art or to create photo books, which are growing markets.”
Adds Tracy Christall, JK Imaging’s director of Marketing: “If you’re going on a 10-day Alaskan cruise, you’re not just going to bring your smartphone. Often, with a DSLR, there are too many lenses to switch; by the time you do, you’ve missed your shot. With our long-zoom bridge cameras, you can get a really beautiful photograph without searching through a full bag of equipment.”
Since they began shipping product in late 2013, JK Imaging’s mission has been to keep the Kodak PixPro position while looking at adding value and creating the best possible product at an affordable price.
“We’ve carved out a nice niche for ourselves,” explains Meyhoefer. “Our strategy: Make a quality product for a great value. This falls in line with our partners, such as Walmart, Amazon and even the B2B and distribution side of our business.”
Moreover, one manufacturer JK Imaging currently works with was previously an OEM manufacturer for Kodak cameras. Since the manufacturer was very familiar with those products, the team was able to basically pick up where they left off and continue to develop the product line to where it is today.
Says Meyhoefer: “Today we have four or five point-and-shoot and six long-zoom cameras. We also introduced a waterproof, rugged entry-level camera; it has a 4x zoom capability and is completely waterproof up to 50 feet. We see a great opportunity for this new waterproof model; it is especially for outdoor and adventure seekers. We are fortunate to also have a successful business in the mega-zoom bridge-type cameras. These are fixed-body cameras that range from 25x zoom to 100x zoom. Among our best sellers are 40x to 65x zoom models, with price points starting from $150 and up to $500.”
JK Imaging offers seven Kodak PixPro models through U.S. Walmart stores, with more models online, further showing their commitment to their value proposition and alignment with mega retailers. They also provide several industrial markets with Kodak PixPro cameras, including the insurance and auto industries as well as schools.
Pursuing New Opportunities
Furthermore, as JK Imaging explores new opportunities, they rely on their product development team to create new value and solid products at a great price.
In recent months, the company debuted two cameras: the AZ528, a 52x long-zoom model; and the new WPZ2 waterproof camera. Both models were developed as a result of the team studying the market and seeing an opportunity with consumers through retailers.
“There is always opportunity, even in tougher markets, if you’re willing to be flexible and really listen to your customers’ needs,” explains Meyhoefer.
In addition, JK Imaging was one of the first camera manufacturers to enter the 360º VR market. Today, they feature a lineup of products that take 360º video and still images. “The consumer side hasn’t picked up as much as industry predictions,” adds Meyhoefer. “So, it’s currently more of a prosumer market. We are keeping our options open and will see what the future holds for this sector.”
As a company and a member of the Responsible Business Alliance—the world’s largest industry coalition dedicated to corporate social responsibility in global supply chains—JK Imaging is focused on sustainability.
“We’re working with the factories in our supply chain to be even more responsible with the products we’re making,” says Meyhoefer. “Looking at different ways to improve this business for the future is an initiative we’re pretty excited about.”