Fifty years on, James Bond has still got it.
I’m not talking about his penchant for fast cars and fancy women (though that’s still there too), but rather, his steadfast personal brand. 007 remains cool, confident and immaculately dressed in Skyfall (released this Friday) – even after his shenanigans on top of moving trains.
What can the rest of us mere mortals learn from James Bond’s personal brand? Here are 5 takeaway tips:
- Dress the part: 007 has mastered the sartorial arts. Why? Because he knows what suits him, and he sticks with it. Tom Ford, who has dressed Daniel Craig as Bond for the second time now, says he was ‘thrilled’ with the result. Ford claims that Bond is very much like their typical customer: ‘classic and very elegant.’ Even if you can’t afford Tom Ford, aim for immaculate fit (for those of you now daydreaming of the pale blue swimming trunks, I’m referring to Bond’s suits, actually….). Learn what silhouette suits you, then build around that. And be consistent. Even if you had the good fortune of seeing Bond getting milk and the Sunday paper, he wouldn’t be in trackie bottoms and a hoodie (heaven forbid!). He’s always true to his ‘classic and very elegant’ brand.
De-clutter your introduction: Unless you’ve spent the past half century on a desert island, you’ll know 007’s legendary introduction: ‘The name’s Bond, James Bond.’ While I’m not suggesting you try this at work (don’t even go there), be mindful of any verbal clutter when you’re introducing yourself. I’m talking about filler: ‘how you doing?’, or ‘really, really nice to meet you,’ alongside several ‘ums’ and ‘ahhs.’ Watch out for superfluous head nods or pumping a handshake too long. Keep your introduction lean and simple. Add warmth with a genuine smile.
Body language with impact: Bond is the quintessential calm and collected character. He’s focused, intense, flinty. Daniel Craig has mastered the role – and the body language – with true aplomb. He projects presence and power with his confident movements. Because his clothes fit immaculately, he doesn’t fidget with them. He moves with purpose. According to Olivia Fox Cabane in her new book, The Charisma Myth, high-status, high-confidence body language is conveyed by how few movements are made. She says ‘composed people exhibit a level of stillness, which is sometimes described as poise.’ Unless he’s busting a baddie, 007 is definitely not busting a move.
Have some trademarks: The suits. The cars. The watch. The martini (we all know how he likes it). Bond surrounds himself with a classy repertoire of trademark items. He also has some trademark lines and behaviours too legendary to require repetition here. What about you? The key to getting this to work is not copying someone, which looks sad and contrived. Maybe you have cool glasses or an unusual haircut. Maybe you always have striking linings on your conservative suit jackets. Or perhaps you have a collection of antique cufflinks. Whatever it is, make it your own. The point is to emphasise YOUR uniqueness, not being a wannabe by replicating somebody else’s style. Remember Oscar Wilde: ‘Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.’ And he knew all about that.
Have a sense of humour: Bond just wouldn’t be Bond without that perfectly timed line and that twinkle in his eye. If he was simply a gadget-clad action hero, 007 would lose his cachet faster than you can say shaken not stirred. Roger Moore arguably had the best ‘twinkle’, but all the Bonds have had wit and personality. 007’s sense of humour is as integral to his personal brand as his razor sharp suits. All this personal brand stuff can be terribly serious business. The point is more to identify what makes you amazing, and to work on bringing that to the fore till it becomes effortless. Your brand is not only how you dress. It’s also about how you engage people, how you connect and pull them in. If you’ve got a sense of humour – and who doesn’t somewhere deep down – it can be a wonderful compliment to tips 1-4.
What else can James Bond teach us about personal brand?
In the last Personal Brand blog, learn what senior managers and interviewers notice about your brand.