James Bond and the transformative brand

James Bond and the transformative brand

From the smooth, gadget-fueled epics of Sean Connery to the tight blue swimshort-wearing Daniel Craig, the character and style of James Bond films have developed and evolved a great deal through the years. In fact, they often define an era of film-making as well as push the boundaries of filming capabilities. With so much being written about transformative brands, it seemed like we should continue the conversation we started earlier in the week about Mr. Bond.

Staying relevant to the brand, James Bond has had to transform with the times while maintaining a strong identity. With the arrival of Daniel Craig, the return to Aston Martin (after the disastrous Brosnan/BMW combination) was applauded. The Aston Marton brand represents more than just a vehicle to Bond’s identity. It is British, stylish and above all as smooth as Bond’s own chat-up lines.

On the flip side, a transformation from the cliché-ridden films to a more realistic portrayal helped James Bond adapt to modernity with much greater effect. This brand has grown and evolved along with its audience.  We can learn from this evolution as, ultimately, all brands have certain characteristics that are timeless and should be celebrated, whether it’s a borderline alcoholic spy with a license to kill or a distinctly British heritage.

In the latest Bond film, Director Sam Mendes wove together previous plot lines that ensured Spectre was not another film but part of something much greater. The audience is eager to see how Bond’s character will be further developed from a franchise so well known for its transformation. The evolution excites and scares them, especially as Spectre might be Craig’s last stint as 007. With every film there are discussions about how well it stays true to the Bond identity.

Just like Bond, brands need to understand the difference between heritage and baggage. Embrace what works, but ensure that the brand continues to be relevant, not yearning for former glory.