I am truly sorry... but... I'm afraid...
...you won't be seeing the new Bond movie for another couple of weeks :)
Now, if all had gone to plan, I would have been in New York this week, and I would have missed the first day. However, thanks to last minute change of plan, that didn't happen. So instead I was here in the UK for the release of A Quantum of Solace.
By now you may be getting the fact that I am a bit of a Bond fan, so it was inevitable that I'd head down to the cinema for the first showing of the day. And so, 'bucket' of Coke in hand (not very Bond-like, I know, but it's the cinema!) I waited with baited breath as the lights came down.
QoS (that's what those "in the know" call it, apparently) has had a lot of hype in the press, so there was a lot to live up to. Luckily, the film delivers on its brand promise, and it delivers in spades. One of the things I always admired about the original books was that Ian Fleming developed Bond's character over time; he wasn't just a two-dimensional comic-book character frozen in time. With the films that character development was lost. Bond was the same at the end of each film as he had been at the start, and he was usually much the same as he had been in the previous film. Changes, when they came, were typically the result of changing the actor, not the character. There was no sense of growth, of learning from experience. I'd say all that has changed with the last two films. True, the Eon team did set out to give us the "birth of Bond" story, to explain how 007 became the character we know, so there had to be some growth in there. Even so, there is a definite feeling that the Bond we see walking into the blizzard at the end of the film is a very different person from the man behind the wheel of the Aston Martin at the start of the movie.
So my first question to you is this: are you "same old Bond", stuck in your ways, changing little if at all, ignoring the lessons and learning opportunities that life throws at you? Or are you "new Bond", taking every opportunity for growth, learning from life and moving on?
After Casino Royale I joined in the general chorus of voices approving of the new Bond, Daniel Craig, and declaring him the true heir of Sean Connery. This time, I'm going to stick my neck out. Craig has truly made the role his own. Craig's 007 is darker and more physical than any of his predecessors. He has lost some of the make-believe qualities of previous Bonds - the encyclopaedic knowledge of virtually any subject necessary and the over-elaborate gadgetry - and regained much of the literary Bond's sang froid and pragmatism. He is a man who is there to do a job, he knows he can do it well, and his boss knows he can do it well. Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to the (strained? tenuous?) link to personal branding.
Here is someone who doesn't just break the rules, he burns the rule book when its in the way of getting the job done. Even so, he is fiercely loyal: to his boss, to his friends, to the people he is trying to save, to anyone, in fact, who deserves his loyalty. Importantly, though, he can be trusted to deliver, even if not in a conventional way. A maverick, in fact, but one who gets results consistently.
The result? His boss, "M", stands by him through thick and thin. M repeatedly ignores calls for Bond to be fired. And M trusts Bond with her life.
With the economy the way it is, and worsening, we could all do with a boss like that. But that level of loyalty, support and trust has to be earnt, it can't be expected. 007 gets it because of who he is. And I don't mean he gets it just because he's James Band. I mean he gets it because of his personal brand: his values, his passion for the job, his personal strengths, and because the people who matter know what that personal brand is.
So now here is my second question: would your boss put their own neck on the line for you the way M does for 007? If not, then what do you need to do, what personal qualities do you need to cultivate, and what can you do to improve your brand communication at work? What do you need to do to free your inner Bond?