James Bond recently celebrated his fiftieth anniversary in films and his longevity is a remarkable achievement. No other film franchise has come close to lasting this long and not just over such an extended period, but with so many changes to its title character. Over more than 20 films, six actors have officially played the lead character and even as film has evolved, the Bonds films have remained very relevant and highly profitable.
How the franchise has lasted so long and in the process still seem like a film event offers some insight into content marketing. In particular there are five elements to take away from the film’s success and which can easily be transposed into content marketing.
- Remain true to your brand.
When Dr. No premiered in 1962 it set the tone for the series and many elements from it are still found in the Daniel Craig films. There was the ruthless hero, a beautiful love interest, and a colorful villain bent on world domination. Or who had at least some lofty goals. There is a familiarity to the films from the opening music played by some contemporary musician to the exotic locales in which the action takes place.
Contrast this with recent brands that attempted to reinvent themselves and in the process, nearly lost their customer base. There was overstock.com which tried unsuccessfully to be known as o.co. JC Penney is still trying to reinvent itself as JCP.com and in the process still losing its market share.
When you develop your brand, know what will be at the core of its success and stay with that. Yes, you can expand your business or offer additional services, but people who know your name should immediately be able to tell what you do. This should be brought out in all the content you develop for your site and through social media.
2. Stay relevant.
When the first James Bond, Sean Connery, walked away from the franchise in the 1960’s the producers didn’t shut the series down. They simply brought in another actor. Although George Lazenby lasted only one film, the producers realized they didn’t have to rely on one actor for their success. Through the years, they’ve changed actors which have kept them able to reach younger audiences. For the theme songs they often turned to the top acts of the day, from Nancy Sinatra to Paul McCartney, Madonna and now Adele.
Companies have to evolve as well and to keep themselves fresh. Look at the content on your site and see if it’s up to date. Use your blog to demonstrate you’re an authority in your field and aware of the latest trends. Businesses want to work with the companies that can advance them, not who have become staid.
3. Cross promote.
Good content today isn’t enough. You need to promote it, as well. Knowing their target market was primarily male, they did cross promotions with car manufacturers, alcohol companies and Playboy. Today they use video games not just to generate more money, but to develop a stronger following with younger audiences.
For a business that has put all their effort into their web site, they need to use social media not just to reach out to followers, but to publicize their content.
4. Develop good content
The Bond movies have always known their first goal is to provide strong entertainment. Even when the movies weren’t up to the standards of their best movies, they still had jaw dropping special effects, theme songs from top musicians, and exotic locations. This meant they spent top money on their films productions. While many franchises begin to lower budgets as the series progresses, the Bond films have usually done just the opposite. In fact, the first film, Dr. No, probably has the lowest budget.
When you’re looking for someone to develop content for your site, don’t just go with the lowest bidder. This content has to engage readers and encourage them to become customers. Spending the money to generate quality content will have a long term impact. Going low budget simply makes your business look like a b-movie ready to go straight to video.
5. Reuse old content
More than most, the Bond franchises have found ways to keep their older films popular. They’d not only release the old movies on Blu-ray, but load them with extras. Like the recent box set that contains some movies that aren’t available on Blu-ray they managed to entice even those who already owned a number of films on Blu-ray to buy the complete set and obtain a limited edition book.
Many businesses have hundreds of pages of content on their site, but they often don’t think to revisit it ever to see if it can be refreshed. Often these pages are already indexed and may have links to them. Review them and if there is new information that can be added or information is out of date, then revise them. Instead of creating a whole new blog about something already on the site, update the current page and get more traffic as a result.
There is no end to the Bond series because they’ve done things right from the beginning. They may not go another 50 years, but they’ll certainly continue to work as if they believe it will. Develop your site and your content with the same attention to detail and you’ll find your market.
Followup: Having seen the new Bond movie only reinforces what I've thought about the series. Skyfall incorporates elements from the first Bond films and the result is one of the best in the series. A number of characters and gadgets from the past are resurrected.