Corporate Eye

Polaroid Makes a Bold Attempt to Stay Relevant with Polaroid Fotobar

There is no doubt that the Polaroid brand still holds a great deal of equity, but the company behind the brand has been struggling to stay relevant and retain its brand value for years.

This week, the company made an announcement that Polaroid experience stores, called Polaroid Fotobar stores, are coming. It’s a bold attempt to stay relevant. But will it work?

At first glance, you might think there is no way this will work, but don’t make a judgment about the effort’s success until you take a closer look. Polaroid Fotobar stores could actually be useful and fun.

The image from Polaroid above shows what a Polaroid Fotobar store will look like. The first of 10 stores in the United States will open in Delray Beach, Florida. Designed in the same style as Apple stores, Polaroid Fotobars are intended to look sleek and modern.

During their visits, customers can view, enhance, and print images onto a variety of materials from their cameras, mobile devices, social networks, photo sharing sites, and more within seconds. Polaroid Fotobar stores will have expert “Photoenders” on hand to help customers with their photo projects. Classes, private parties, and photo sessions will also be available in “The Studio” within each store, and a companion Polaroid Fotobar website allows customers to do everything online, too.

So why do Polaroid Fotobars have a chance at succeeding? The following snippet from the Polaroid press release explains how the Polaroid Fotobar stores will fill a gap in the photography industry:

“There are currently around 1.5 billion pictures taken every single day, and that number continues to grow in tandem with the popularity and quality of camera phones,” said Warren Struhl, founder and CEO of Fotobar, LLC. “Unfortunately, even the very best of those pictures rarely ever escape the camera phone with which they were taken to be put on display around our homes and offices. Why? Because turning those pictures into something tangible, creative and permanent is neither easy nor fun. Polaroid Fotobar stores are going to change all of that.”

Struhl makes a valid point. Do you have pictures on your phone or computer that you’d like to have in a frame or tangible album but never have the time to do anything with them? Many consumers do. Is the need great enough to make Polaroid Fotobars successful? That remains to be seen. The experience within the stores needs to be useful and amazing enough to encourage people to come back again and again.

Bottom-line, there is hope for the Polaroid brand. At least, I’m still optimistic. What do you think?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.