The Name is Bond, … Want to talk?

This is my 007th blog post of this year (according to the naming convention I use for these posts on my laptop), which seems appropriate as this week also marked the first release of any official photos and behind the scenes footage for the next James Bond movie, SPECTRE.

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I’ve been fascinated by the world of 007 for almost fifty years now, I’ve written one book about Bond and have a second one that will be published later this year. It’s not just the character himself that fascinates me, it’s the way that the franchise has developed over the years, constantly changing to meet new challenges, changing tastes, changing political landscapes, and reach new audiences across the globe. A core part of that has been studying the way that EON Productions and MGM have handled marketing the movies. The release of the photographs and video footage this week was part of EON’s long established practice of building interest in their movies over a period of several months; in this case about ten months, as SPECTRE isn’t scheduled to open till November. Bond movie production has always been a series of milestones: announcing the cast, the name of the movie, the start of filming, a look at the impressive sets, the song, the trailer; they are all marketing events.

But they are all still essentially broadcast events, they help build awareness of the brand, but they are definitely one way communication. It’s a “look at us and this cool thing we are doing” message. If Bond marketing falls down in one area when compared to other franchises, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, the Marvel movies etc., it’s engaging with their core customers, the fans.

Luckily many of the Bond writers, scholars, collectors, and fans makes up for that with a very lively, welcoming, inclusive, and fun informal community with an active collection of websites, social media feeds, blogs, podcasts, publications etc.

Among these one of the recent stand outs has been the emergence of the James Bond Radio podcast, and they did it by marketing through conversation.

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Launched only a year ago it is already the “must listen” podcast for Bond aficionados for its insightful reviews, news, interviews, and more. This isn’t just two guys telling us how much they enjoy Bond, although that is a recurrent theme, it’s an inclusive experience with fellow fans providing input for trivia quizzes, or even providing jingles. The associated Facebook page is a lively community with the hosts engaging in dialog with the listeners. To celebrate their successful first year they didn’t do a self-congratulatory show, instead they invited six of their listeners to be on the show and asked them the same Bond related questions they ask when introducing the various Bond related professional guests that have appeared to date, instantly placing the fans on the same level of conversation as anyone else. Whether they know it or not, the James Bond Radio guys are a great case study in Content Marketing and using the content they produce to engage with their audience to build not just brand awareness, but loyalty, and retention. How did I first find out about James Bond Radio? By recommendation from a friend in the Bond community – and personal recommendation is the strongest marketing tool there is.

Start a conversation with your customers and they can become your greatest advocates.