The Secret Behind the James Bond Brand

brand-as-business bit:  With last week’s premier of the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, I’m reminded of the brand extension lessons that can be derived from the successful Bond movie franchise.  I’ve found couple observations about the evolution and extend-ability of James Bond spot-on:

John Strain, Account Executive, Star Group, writes in iMediaConnection:

“Truth be told, the Bond brand is unique in the way that it is ALWAYS evolving. Each actor who has portrayed Bond brought their own special touch to the collective Bond persona. The move from Pierce Bronson to Daniel Craig saw the brand go from ‘Hokey and Charming’ to ‘Full-on Badass.’ But the brand has always had its pillars intact.” [emphasis mine]

Ken Carbone, Co-founder and Chief Creative Director, Carbone Smolan Agency, writes in Fast Company:

“…the Bond ‘brand’ is much bigger than any one actor. It is built on a solid and winning formula that has worked for more than 50 years. It’s totally scalable, always on trend, and continually innovative…From the opening action sequence, you know what to expect from Bond, and he delivers, always with an added element of surprise.”  [emphasis mine]

I wrote about the Bond brand in Reveries a few years ago in a piece about brand extensions:

“Each new film is less a sequel and more an entirely new premise in which to experience the distinctive suavity and style of James Bond. He brings to each encounter a way of doing and being that is uniquely Bond.   But each film serves up a different scenario and viewers are drawn in time and again to experience James in a whole new way. It is the familiarity of a distinct style and personality juxtaposed with the novelty of each new and different experience that makes the extensions work.”

Perhaps the most telling comment about the success of the Bond brand evolution is provided by the character’s creator, Ian Fleming.  In James Bond: The Man and His World, by Henry Chancellor, the secret behind the stretch of James Bond is revealed:

“Right from the beginning Fleming set out to write about a man who was only a silhouette. ‘The paradox is that I quite literally made him rather anonymous,’ he told Ken Purdy, a journalist who interviewed him in 1964. ‘This was to enable the reader to identify with him. People have only to put their own clothes on Bond and build him into whatever sort of person they admire. If you read my books you’ll find that I don’t actually describe him at all.’”  [emphasis mine]

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