Sir Roger Moore passed away at the age of 89, leaving an enduring legacy and prompting an outpouring of heartfelt tributes. What made him so compelling both on and off screen? He was charismatic and handsome. Cinematic icon. Sartorially faultless gentleman spy. Idolised childhood hero. So very British. Witty. Charming. Kind. He also had an inherent aptitude for communication.
Moore was beloved of the press and chat show hosts alike, and cultivated a reputation of openness and willingness to engage with the media. He understood that communication is a two-way street – relaying your own key ideas whilst also listening. For a company’s internal and external communications programme, these tactics help to motivate, inspire and grow brand loyalty. Transparency builds trust and respect, and central to the success of any business is growing its network of supporters and brand ambassadors. After all, there’s no endorsement like a third party endorsement.
When his career went stratospheric, Moore remained modest and self-deprecating. Of his own talents, he quipped: “My acting range has always been something between the two extremes of ‘raises left eyebrow’ and ‘raises right eyebrow’”. Nevertheless, he is widely considered the greatest 007, precisely because of his human touch – he made us feel included, like we were all in it together, sharing a chuckle.
A large part of communicating well is portrayed in the non-verbal. For a spokesperson, this means your posture, tone of voice, eye contact; for a company – your collaterals, customer service, branding. A good campaign is consistent, maintaining direct, frequent (if not frequent, then timely) and informative contact with your key audiences. It’s about defining your identity and values from the start, and sticking to them. Nobody does it better than Moore.
Often greeted as Bond when he went into a bar, Moore took it in good humour and played along. Drink in and savour this charming story of how a boy asked him for an autograph but was disappointed that the actor signed his name as Roger Moore instead of James Bond. With a straight face, Moore explained that he had to use the fake name to avoid being detected by Blofeld’s cronies. What a class act.
Heading up the Bond franchise is akin to taking the helm of a conglomerate. By the time Moore donned that tuxedo, Sean Connery had firmly entrenched himself in the position and seemed irreplaceable. Moore didn’t follow the same format as his predecessor, eschewing Connery’s unfeeling, caddish spy for a more sympathetic portrayal. He embodied the ‘voice’ and the ‘face’ of his brand while making the part very much his own. He ended up not only the longest serving Bond but also the oldest, starring in A View to a Kill aged 58.
Moore never forgot the importance of community engagement, either. He took the time to wish a happy 50th birthday to the News Shopper, a local paper in Bexley. They were flabbergasted, of course. Their response? “Forget Connery and Craig, here at News Shopper there’s only one James Bond.”