The image displays the Polaroid logo, featuring the word "Polaroid" in bold, black, sans-serif font with an underline extending from the "P" to after the "l". The background is white.

Business Transformation of Polaroid​

A display stand showcases colorful Polaroid instant cameras. The word "create" is prominently featured above the cameras in vibrant letters. Below the display, various camera accessories and boxes are neatly organized, celebrating the brand's rebirth with a bright, inviting design.

Case Study

Challenge

Polaroid, an iconic brand with 82 years of history and a brand recall akin to Coca Cola, faced numerous challenges in reviving its relevance in the digital age and youth market. With a struggling sales and collaboration strategy, an at-risk marketing department due to high turnover, and a brand perception as a nostalgic party gimmick, Polaroid needed a comprehensive, strategic intervention. At the same time, it sought to navigate these challenges amidst a global pandemic, a changing retail landscape, and the launch of its smallest instant camera ever, the Polaroid Go.

Lead

Through Chameleon Collective’s CLEAR (CxO Lead Evaluation and Recommendations) process, we began by diagnosing and prioritizing the pivotal opportunities within Polaroid’s marketing and eCommerce landscape. Informed by these insights, we swiftly implemented strategic leadership roles. 

An Interim CMO, with a profound consumer retail experience, took charge. Complementing this placement, we introduced an Interim VP of Brand, whose past engagements with culturally significant brands made her an apt fit. We also bolstered the digital front by positioning an Interim VP of eCommerce, aiming to rejuvenate online channels. To ensure coherence across various consumer touchpoints and content, a VP of Integrated Marketing Communications with diverse international experience was brought onboard. With these pillars in place, our immediate mission was threefold: to stabilize the existing team, redesign the organization’s structure for emerging challenges, and to rejuvenate the brand, making it resonate with the younger demographic.

A deeper exploration into Polaroid’s heritage and its alignment with today’s generational ethos resulted in the brand narrative, “We are what we create.” This mantra not only revitalized Polaroid’s market position but also set a clear path forward. Furthermore, recognizing an operational void, we initiated a Marketing Operations role. Under the leadership of the Interim Head of Marketing Operations, we rolled out refined processes, enhancing the creative department’s productivity and boosting team morale. After rigorously testing these methods against ongoing campaigns, they were documented, and we embarked on the journey to identify the perfect fit for this role, ensuring alignment with the company’s unique culture.

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Deliver

The Chameleon team undertook two work streams at once – addressing the immediate day to day marketing needs and failing obligations, while creating strategies and roadmaps for all future state work. We quickly assessed capabilities and created a global marketing calendar and set of activities to keep everyone aligned and productive. With the company’s management, we created an Annual Business Planning framework to synchronize product development, marketing investments and consumer and market dynamics. Knowing that future state work would deliver on high impact, transformational changes, Chameleon Collective undertook deep consumer research and leveraged Polaroid’s heritage to craft a unique story for each product within its portfolio. We shifted the brand narrative from feature-based selling to story-driven marketing, repositioning Polaroid’s products, including the Polaroid Go, to align with this overarching ethos. 

The new brand narrative paved the way for clarity in collaboration and influencer strategies. We shifted the product’s in-store placement at check out stations, previously marked as impulse buy due to partnership with brands and IP such as Star Wars, Pringles or Peanuts to brands aligned with creative purpose, such as Keith Haring, Be@rbrik, and David Bowie. Storylines emerged to support the unified belief in accessible art and inclusion and designated floor and window space allowed for Polaroid to take center stage at big box retailers.

In parallel, a refreshed marketing approach led to the development of targeted Sell-In decks for global retailers, highlighting Polaroid’s shift towards creativity, self-expression, and reliability. Moreover, we overhauled product development processes for greater operational clarity, fortifying Polaroid’s image as a dependable partner.

Recruit

The journey of transformation for Polaroid would have been incomplete without an exceptional team. Our interim CMO fell in love with the brand and company culture which resulted in her transitioning into a full-time role. Working directly with the newly minted CMO, Chameleon Collectives Recruiting Team scaled Polaroid’s EU team, filling critical roles – Head of Operations, VP of Integrated Marketing & Communications, and a Senior Brand Strategist – within three months. A robust digital transformation within Polaroid was thus set in motion, facilitated by the development of a dynamic, future-proof organizational structure.

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Impact

The integrated approach led to groundbreaking transformation. Our overarching brand theme established relevance, resonating with the audience’s mindset. Each product supported that narrative, establishing continuity and efficiency in positioning and messaging. Polaroid’s new brand narrative resonated with the creative tastemaker audience, with products such as the Polaroid Go selling out within 48 hours of its pre-sale announcement. The internal stabilization and recruitment strategy have invigorated the team, paving the way for future success. Retailers are now equipped with Sell-In decks that position Polaroid as a reliable sales partner, leading to improved retailer sentiment and exceeded sales objectives.

The once siloed teams of Product, Marketing,Creative, and Sales were unified under one operational process, with team members realizing their role’s responsibilities and impact to the greater organization. Polaroid’s team members are extremely enthusiastic about the brand and the Chameleon team ensured each team member was recognized for their capabilities and mentored so they are able to grow from within.

This comprehensive business transformation case study showcases how Chameleon Collective’s unique approach to Lead, Deliver, and Recruit can revitalize an iconic brand and set it up for success in the modern era, all while navigating the complexities of a global pandemic.

Related Chameleon Team Members

Angicel Morales

Angicel Morales

Senior Program/Project Manager

Juan-Carlos Morales

Juan-Carlos Morales

Executive Creative Director

Julie Mantis

Julie Mantis

Interim VP, Brand Strategy

Monika Ryan

Monika Ryan

Partner & Executive Recruiter

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