The Incredible 007 Brand

The new James Bond film “Skyfall” brought in a remarkable $87.8 million in North America this weekend, an exceptionally strong start for the production.

The strong results are largely due to two things: a good film and a terrific brand.

 

You can learn three important things about branding from James Bond.

First, a strong brand has clear associations. This is a critical point: great brands stand for something distinct. James Bond is brave, daring, sophisticated, British and debonair. He isn’t slow, studious, old or cautious. People associate the Bond brand with fast cars, grand adventures and beautiful women.

Second, a brand needs to change over time. The Bond franchise has managed to stay relevant by shifting so it always reflects society. James Bond has been around since Ian Fleming created the character in 1953. But Bond movies are always current; they are new and fresh. The technology and the setting change. The core of the brand doesn’t.

Third, a great brand attracts other brands. The new Bond film has received a bit of criticism for the amount of sponsorship in the movie, especially for swapping Bond’s classic martini for a Heineken. Phil Rosenthal at The Chicago Tribune explored this in his article yesterday. You can read it here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/ct-biz-1111-phil-bond–20121111,0,2834053.column

The more important point, however, is that a great brand such as 007 attracts other strong brands. A strong brand is a magnet for people and for companies.

Brand managers are often tempted to change a brand to keep it fresh. This isn’t bad but the challenge is to be consistent while evolving. James Bond shows how to pull this off.

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