Thinking about a rebrand? Turn to James Bond.

Everyone loves James Bond. He’s an institution. Now that Spectre, the new Bond film has hit the UK’s cinemas, there’s something that Bond has done successfully more times than most large companies.

Rebranding.

Bond has undergone the exercise no less than 6 times, and we’ve all quite happily gone along with it.

We’ve all waited in gleeful anticipation to see the latest incarnation of the world’s best loved secret service agent.

But when Daniel Craig was cast as the new Bond in 2006, a certain someone was a little pessimistic. Director Sam Mendes.

Mendes, who hadn’t yet become part of the global franchise, thought Mr Craig was wrong for the role, stating that he shouldn’t do it - the role of Bond and the actor Daniel Craig were essentially polar opposites. Pierce Brosnan’s Bond was slightly disengaged. He had become almost a pastiche, with quips accompanied with a raised eyebrow here and there.

Daniel Craig was different. Daniel had passion. He had realism.

That wasn’t James Bond, was it?

Or rather, that wasn’t the Mendes perception of Bond.


But when Casino Royale, the film that would go back to Bond’s roots, reached our cinemas, the character had changed.

Everything had evolved. It was grittier. More realistic. The music was different. The cars were different. Establishing scenes were shot in black and white. The angles were stark and more detailed than past films. There’s no opening gunbarrel shot. It was clear that Daniel had re-energised the franchise, and reinvigorated brand Bond with a refreshed incarnation of Fleming’s 007.

And Mr Mendes admitted he was wrong.


Today, with Spectre, Mendes and Craig have once again shown what makes a great team, delivering a refreshing action-packed incarnation of 007.

It shows that having your people on board can make or break a rebrand. Without winning your own people over, new messaging can’t reach external stakeholders and you are left in brand limbo - somewhere between the old and the new.

You may be surprised to discover that many of your staff take great pride in your brand. They might even love it. They will have formed their opinions in different ways, over different lengths of time, but all will have a personal perception of the company. That perception is often only reluctantly changed.

Whatever you do, do not plough an Aston Martin through the sensitivities of your people. If they know and understand your vision and strategy, having had it explained to them, they will be more receptive to the rebrand. Appreciating the rationale behind the changes increases the chances that they will
accept them.

They may even be ahead of the curve, knowing that a rebrand is needed before you do. Your staff may have felt pressure on the shop floor when in contact with your customers, realising that the current brand story is out of kilter with the real one. This opinion needs to be gathered before any changes are attempted.

Enlisting the support of some active and influential internal agents (not 007) is an effective way to monitor and manage internal acceptance of a change in messaging. Make them your eyes and ears as you firstly understand where you are, plot your new rebrand, and then implement it. You will need advocates on the ground who can carry the new story to all parts of your empire, because you won’t be able to do it yourself.

Remembering that it’s their brand as much as yours puts you in good stead for the changes to take effect and for the development of a consistent message to external stakeholders. In our next and final blog about rebranding, Fifth Ring will look at how to manage the message when it reaches the outside world.

Rebranding? It’s all part of our not-so-secret service. Why not get in touch and see what we could do for you?