Marketing Lessons from 50 Years of James Bond Movies

Marketing Lessons from 50 Years of James Bond Movies


Incredibly, this is the 50th anniversary of the most successful movie franchise of all time!

I’ve always loved everything about James Bond, even though I’ve seen lots of the films many times and to be honest, the quality does vary from film to film and the older movies certainly have dated from a technology perspective though the overwhelming theme has always appealed to many of us.

When Ian Fleming write the first book in 1952, I would imagine he would have had no idea about the longevity of his character. Fleming included Bond in twelve novels and after his death in 1964, 8 more James Bond novels were written. 22 films were produced, and there have been adaptations in many other media: radio plays, video games, comic strips and television.

Incredibly, the 22 films alone have generated more than 11 billion dollars in box office revenues and I’m sure the relase of the 23rd movie, Skyfall, this figure is going to increase significantly! Obviously the whole concept of the internet did not exist when Bond was conceived, his image, the dream he projects, the women he er… meets (!) provides the topics of all kinds of conversations and triggers a whole range of opinions. Of course, what is perfect for a subject that invokes such appeal, opinion and legion of fans… well social media of course!.

Marketing Lessons we can learn James Bond

Marketing Lessons we can learn James Bond

Obviously if there are conversations springing up endlessly over the social media platforms, there are always a number of lessons that marketers can learn, because it is the goal of most entrepreneurs to have the business, products and services talked about in a positive way all over the internet.

1.Know Your Mission

Every James Bond movie has a baddie and Bond is always on a mission to overcome that baddie and what he represents. His goals are pretty much clear early on in the films and the format is repeated every time. Some excitement and anticipation helps set the scene and they cleverly layout the plot. You can very quickly empathise with Bond as the combination of empathy with his personal feelings and the mission he is set by M connects with all of us. For me, that resonates with my entrepreneurial spirit as there is always a business mission and something in your gut that drives you forward to make things happen, even if you are up against it, hitting obstacle after obstacle and you have to be stubborn and tenacious. With your small business marketing this is vital too. Always have an end game set out early on and harness your passion and personal determination to make it work.

2. Continuity in Your Profile

I think it’s fair to say that despite the different actors who have played Bond all being quite different, there is certainly a continuous pattern in the style, morals and methods that every Bond has had. The original personality originally created by Ian Fleming is still the same, although over time the character has evolved over the years, dependent on the era.

The formula just works so every writer, director and actor has maintained that core personality, although they’ve changed outer elements over time, this shows a natural progression to keep it current. With your marketing, this is extremely important as you want people to become familiar with you, your core values and what you represent and then it is easy to introduce new slants and approaches.

The hard bit is when people try and create that persona of themselves, their brand or their products and services that make it look unnatural. Honesty is always the best policy and for me, the most consistent part of your business is generally you! Obviously we change, learn new things and have different experiences so we all evolve (or we try to!) so this is the most consistent asset to harness.

Being real, offering integrity and evolving your marketing as you and your business evolves helps make people want to know your story.

3. Help Others to Help Yourself

This reminds me of the great book by Bob Burg and John David Mann called The Go Giver… if you haven’t read this, I highly recommend you do. It’s about putting others interests first and when you add value to their lives, this is naturally reciprocated over time. James Bond is generous and often gives big tips to the likes of waiters, although I would say it is not . Be generous: share free value content without expecting anything in return. In giving more, you open yourself for receiving more.

4. Strive to Be the Best

It’s easy to imagine that James Bond is the best spy as he always has the toughest missions and overcomes what seem to be insurmountable odds to always come out on top. In his niche he is the best of the best. In many of the movies and in particular in the Daniel Craig movies, he is portrayed as being more flawed and possibly more of a slightly realistic touch when it comes to his emotions and humanity.  This clearly is a goal in our own businesses and with our marketing, if you use push marketing techniques that just tell people how great you are, then it’s hard to really believe and people just don’t buy into that. It’s about connecting with people, empathising with their problems, their wants and their desires and how you can provide a solution to those issues. This is much easier to do if you focus on one thing you are really good at which relates to a very specific niche. It’s much easier to dominate a targeted niche than to offer a solution to the whole world! Clarity and focus on this niche will help you dominate it and be the best person in that niche.

5. Make Your Own Rules

We all know James Bond reports to M though we also know he does it on his terms, much to the frustration portrayed so well in the recent movies by Dame Judi Dench, He takes the orders from M, but often goes his own way in how he achieves the right outcome. Of course he is licensed to kill which I am assuming you are not, so I really don’t recommend you resort to such drastic measures! But the important thing is to do whatever it takes to satisfy the needs of your customer. Your rules are all about succeeding in your mission to do that but how you actually do it is where you have the licence to think and act differently to others.

For me in my online printing company, I don’t believe there are any rules in how we achieve the goal of keeping our customers happy, Please don’t think this means being unethical, illegal or anything of that nature. I am talking purely in the means of the quality of the service and of the business cards and printed products we provide and the marketing campaigns that help communicate that.

6. Get the Best Tools You Can Afford

OK, we would all love to have the famous Aston Martin to replicate that feeling of being Bond, but the principle is, James Bond always has access to the latest gadgets, weapons, vehicles etc that enable him to get out of the stickiest situations, You don’t see James Bond driving around in a company Ford Fiesta (no offence to Fiesta drivers , but you get my drift!).

Great tools often cost more than mediocre tools but it’s vital to get the best you can afford. This is relevant whether it’s the staff you employ, the software that runs your business or the Social Media Marketing Agency you contract to help you do the best social media marketing you can do. It’s not always about the most expensive but choosing the right option that gives you the best ROI or the optimum outcome.

7. Be Decisive

James Bond is never slow to make a decision, whether it’s to fire his gun  or to jump off a building to catch an escaping villain. He goes for it 100% every time! Of course not every decision is the right one and sometimes we make mistakes. Nothing wrong with that.

But the important thing is to make decisions, whether they are easy to make or even more so when they are tough ones. If you make a bad decision, it’s vital to learn and improve next time. It’s been said that if you never make mistakes then you aren’t trying hard enough! When running direct mail marketing campaigns for clients, as well as for ourselves, we have had some great successes but we’ve had some disasters too. If I told you everything we did for every client was a rip roaring success, you wouldn’t believe me and even people like Richard Branson make mistakes. (Virgin Cola for example…).

If you want to succeed with social media marketing, then be bold, make things happen or employ a social media marketing agency that has the experience to give you that head start!

8. Go For It in a Big Way

James Bond never does anything in half measures. He wants the best things and he wants to be the best at what he does. So he does whatever it takes to make that happen. Thinking BIG is a great way of motivating you to strive for success. Develop a big vision of what success will look like for you helps you feel it and almost touch it. Thinking small gives small results.

9. Be the First

Innovators create opportunity as they are the first people to beat a new path, giving them the chance to succeed before others even know the opportunity exists! James Bond always does the right reconnaissance, takes everything he can into consideration and then takes action! If you think no-one else in your market is using social media marketing, does it mean it’s wrong or they just haven’t tried it or done it properly?

If you present your own personality, your own thoughts and ideas that are unique to you, or equally importantly, are “your take on it” then you are still beating a new path. No-one else has every view you have or the same experience you have so if you use that to be original, and vitally use it to help others then you will make positive headway.

10. The Names Bond, James Bond!

We all know and love one of the most famous factors of James Bond that his been consistent from the start. How he announces his name. He does not hide behind the identity of his employer, use pseudonyms or even nameless!  The amount of times I see Twitter users not even have their own name or identity shown anywhere amazes me! Even trying to interact with these people is hard. I have people ReTweet some of my posts and you can’t even thank them by using their name… just a faceless brand!

Personality is so important with a modern small business marketing strategy, and a personal brand helps you create loyalty, connect with people and build a community of advocates for you and your business.  When you engage with other people on social media platforms online, say who you are, show your face, build relationships as a real person, not just as a buyer or vendor of services.

11. Be the Fittest of the Fit

I think Daniel Craig encompasses this more than ever which being a modern Bond, shows how relevant it is. You MUST look after yourself so you can be the best you can be! Being physically fit requires a commitment to training but the same applies to being mentally fit too. We all continually learn and this helps keep our brain fit but physical fitness and good health helps us do this on an ongoing basis.

12. Be a Snappy Dresser

James Bond always looks suave and sophisticated, no matter of the circumstances he is in. He dresses to suit the environment he is in, although I admit he often ends up in a fight or a car chase dressed in a dinner suit… but he had been dressed accordingly because of the original environment he is in. Now I am not saying it is vital for you to wear an Armani suit every day but image is important as it represents your brand and your values. This doesn’t just relate to you, but your website, the packaging of your products, how you write and the Facebook posts of Tweets you put out. I have seen business people on obviously use the likes of Facebook or Twitter put downright offensive comments, which are going out onto a public domain.

Don’t do this!

Unless you are a rock n roll star, or maybe a stand up comic, being offensive is not clever! I’m not saying you can’t make jokes, have fun or show elements of your personality, but be sensitive of the audience of readers who can see what you do!

13. Never, Ever, Ever Give Up!

Quoting Winston Churchill is relevant here as there always moments in every James Bond movie when it looks like he is in big trouble! Of course we all know he will find a way out of mischief as he is James Bond after all! But the point is, even though James Bond is fantasy, his focus on his end game always gets him through and this is true to us as Small Business Owners. Whether it’s your ultimate goal of building a Multi Million £ business you can sell so you never have to work again, or smaller steps such as generating 20 new leads every week, your end game must be in view.

14. Leave People Asking for More!

I don’t know about you, but when I watch a really good movie, I just don’t want it to end! I must say that for me, the recent James Bond movies with Daniel Craig have left me looking forward to the next one every single time and I can’t wait to go an see Skyfall next week! Each Bond movie is new but the beauty of each James Bond film is we all know what we are going to get as the formula just works.

If you can find a formula that gives your customers what they want then you are onto a winner. Even if your products and services vary, the outcome is consistent in some way is what you should strive to achieve. Whether it’s making people feel valued and that you appreciate the business they give you, or that by using your business helps them achieve more, feel better, earn more or save more, either way their is a predictable outcome that people will want more of.

If you make this your passion and your goal then you will make huge progress and have a positive impact on your customers and prospects.


As you can probably tell I am a James Bond from the point of view of the movies themselves but equally for the business model that is incredibly successful. The movies give people what they want and even though they refresh the content, we just don’t get bored of it and there is always huge anticipation of the next movie.

This has many connotations in business and if you want to implement a Content Marketing Strategy that helps you build your story, connect with more and more people, build your reputation and create a community of fans or advocates for your business then I urge your to get started right away!

Of course, we can help you at PrintRepublic!

If you want a Free consultation on how an effective Content Marketing Strategy can be started for your business, then get in touch!

Call us on 0845 862 5550

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