With the passing of Leonard Nimoy, or Mr. Spock to most of us, the world is learning a great deal about the man behind the alien face. Mr. Nimoy’s gifts ranged from photography, directing, playwriting, music, and books as well as voice, stage and film acting. But what leaves the greatest impression on us, as Brand Geeks, is Nimoy’s insightful talent developing his brand.
Meet Mr. Spock, brand strategist.
Mr. Nimoy was a struggling actor who had never worked an acting job for longer than two weeks when he earned the role of Spock. In the short-lived original TV series Star Trek (3 seasons and 70+ episodes), Leonard Nimoy crafted a true brand, drawing on his background as the son of immigrants. Not originally conceived as a lead role, the audience quickly related to the stoic yet insightful man. The Vulcan hand salute comes from an Orthodox Jewish blessing he learned at temple. The raised eyebrow was a personal trait that became synonymous with Spock’s unwavering logic.
Put simply, Leonard Nimoy turned the Mr. Spock character into a reflection of his own brand values: Tolerance, Objectivity, Knowledge, Logic and Cool. And that brand established and maintained lasting relationships with fans, creators and causes.
The initial years of playing Spock soured Nimoy on the brand in its first incarnation (pointy-eared alien), as he struggled to creatively control his Vulcan construct. His first autobiography, I Am Not Spock, echoes his frustration with the limitations of the Spock brand.
The opportunity for change arrived when the TV show moved to big screen franchise. Nimoy agreed to participate in the films if the producers killed him off in the second film. When his screen death fueled the Spock fan base further, Nimoy signed back on when they offered to let him direct the next Star Trek film.
Nimoy ultimately realized that he controlled the fate of the Spock brand. He embraced it and used the platform not only to grow as a director (directing the 4th Star Trek film and Three Men and a Baby), but also to influence environmental initiatives, and share his photography, stage acting and other creative pursuits.
He titled his second autobiography I Am Spock. This fresh look demonstrates that Mr. Nimoy had grasped an exquisite understanding of brand and the lasting value of those that evolve over time.
So what can your brand learn from Mr. Spock?
#1. Be Focused: Your greatest opportunity might not center on all your offerings, but spend the time to nurture your strongest asset first. Use its momentum to build a solid platform from which to grow other things tomorrow.
#2. Be Authentic: If nothing about the character had been true to Leonard Nimoy, the person, Spock would not have resonated so strongly with his audience. His relationship with fans allowed for journeys into subjects he believed in, such as the environment, spirituality and friendship (the theme of Star Trek III: Search for Spock).
#3. Take Stock (like Spock): That business plan you wrote when you kicked off your business contained a host of projections about how you would connect with your audience. Brands and audiences evolve. Sometimes an insightful assessment may take you 180° in the opposite direction. Don’t become complacent.
Fascinating brand lessons from the final frontier today. May your brand “Live Long and Prosper.”
Leonard Nimoy http://bit.ly/1G2kSKc
Star Trek http://bit.ly/1BbtJby
I Am Not Spock http://amzn.to/1M9tFMm
The 4th Star Trek film http://bit.ly/17VGPiR
Three Men and a Baby http://imdb.to/1NllYGr
I Am Spock http://amzn.to/1EquOhY
Star Trek III: Search for Spock http://bit.ly/1NlmJz3
insightful assessment http://bit.ly/MqSMCl