Jeffrey Hayzlett of Kodak on HP, Why He’s on Twitter

There are just a handful of CMOs who are as Twitter-happy as Jeffrey Hayzlett. The Eastman Kodak marketer, who has around 16,000 followers, is more than just the lead marketer for Kodak; he’s also often its prime defender, throwing verbal jabs at rival Hewlett-Packard as the two exchange claims over printer ink costs. Just as Kodak has migrated its product line from analog to digital, Hayzlett, who joined the company in 2006, has weaned the company from events like the Olympics (which it had sponsored since 1896) to increasingly spread the message online. Hayzlett, who will appear on Celebrity Apprentice 3 on March 21, talked to Brandweek about those efforts. Below are some excerpts:

Brandweek: You are pretty accessible for a CMO. Most are not. Is it a matter of style or philosophy?
Jeffrey Hayzlett:
I don’t know. People should be people and if someone calls you, you should call them back.

BW: Most of the time, you have to go through someone else to reach a CMO.
I don’t know why that is. For me, it’s part of Kodak’s brand. We’re a very personable brand so therefore we should be very reachable, but I’ve always been that way all my life. I come from South Dakota.

BW: What’s the thinking behind your new tagline, “It’s time to smile”?
There’s been a lot of bad stuff going on in the world, so we’re telling everyone it’s time to smile. It’s time for new business, it’s time for new growth, it’s time for change, so let’s get going.

BW: You talk about the four E’s—engage, educate, excite and evangelize. Was that something you came up with?
That’s something that I’ve been espousing for years. I was applying it to growing your business. That’s a great way to do it. If you’re a small business or a large business, you engage with your customer, you educate them, you get them excited and then they’ll go out and evangelize. But now you can do it with greater scale.

BW: You’ve talked about the three primary social networks—Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—do you see room for another?
Oh yeah. There are other groups like Yammer. Then there’s the old tried-and-true social networks, like the Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club and non-electronic social media and those are pretty good as well.

BW: A lot of brands don’t seem to know what to make of Twitter. They go on there and don’t have a lot of followers and don’t do much, but you seem to be having success. What’s the secret?
Just being genuine. If you’re out there vomiting up information and not being real, you won’t get as much out of it as you would if you just go with the flow and enter into and understand that you’re going to be criticized on it and praised on it at the same time. It’s just like life. It makes things very transparent.

BW: Is that why you do it under your own name?
It just happened that way. I did it primarily for my own reasons. I wanted to stay connected with my family and let them know what I’m doing. That’s how I mostly participated in it. And then it kind of took on a life of its own with people following me because I’m the CMO of Kodak and seeing the day in the life of a CMO.

BW: Have you picked up a lot of insights being on Twitter?
Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s amazing what you can hear if you listen. We picked up great places to come out and market and picked up great brand evangelists and ambassadors that have been fantastic for us. So I’m hoping the competition doesn’t get it.