Monday, 25 November 2013

Who knows how to sell – regenerative selling

As melancholy Jaques might have said
“One part in its time plays many men*” 
As You Like It in 2013

Like playing the character of Prince Hamlet on the stage, James Bond on screen or Dr Who on the TV, the actors of these brand icons have all had to make their mark and claim the part  “their own”.
They have had to find something ‘new’ in the role and sell it.
With Hamlet the actor is restricted to the script supplied by William Shakespeare. Bond can be flexed a little more yet the spirit of Ian Fleming’s original should be evident but with Dr Who, regeneration allows the actors ( and writers) much more freedom.
Yet the Doctors must be ‘bought into’ by the viewers and in particular Whovians who know as much, if not more about the details of the worlds the Doctor travels.
“The Day of the Doctor” was broadcast last Saturday included 3 D screening in more than 1500 cinemas in 94 countries at the same time as it aired on BBC  TV One on Saturday night – it earned a Guinness World Record as "the world's largest ever simulcast of a TV drama".
The parallel universe of challenges in selling
 The actors have had to ‘sell’ their interpretation to their employers the BBC production team, and the viewing customers of fifty years.
Like salespeople they need to draw on some common attributes, skills and knowledge of the role, the market their competition
They have had to differentiate their offering to viewers ( existing customer base) familiar and comfortable with a previous player.
They have had to battle not only with Daleks, Cyber men and the like but those fans resistant against change.

The later Doctors have had to sell the character to customers who are more  often more expert than themselves such as  the Whovians .
 Today’s sales people .They have need to refresh the product, indeed the brand of Dr Who .
The writers, like many successful science fiction writers have also reflected story lines that relate to concerns to the times of current audiences even though the stories take place in far off lands..
Yet the product has always been about human traits of personality, morals and ethics.
There is no such thing as a typical salesperson as there there has been no typical Dr Who.

The Human Condition is unaltered
Consider the human traits of the various incarnations of the role.
William Hartnell : Mysterious, sometimes scary, wise yet otherworldly.
Peter Troughton    Eccentric Bumbling scruffy and affable .
John Pertwee    dandyish and elegant even in a crisis, he was a dab hand at Venusian Aikido and had an aura of  authority. An expert in handling objections
Tom Baker jelly baby aficionado, weird , dangerous and unpredictable and further regenerated into a museum curator
Peter Davison cricket loving friendly, accessible, charming, calm with a true sense of moral indignation.
Colin Baker who we were not meant to like for his arrogance  we were not meant to like yet grew on us.
Sylvester McCoy  Mysterious, wise and terribly sad
Paul McGann wild, energetic, heroic
Christopher Eccelston ‘normal’ looking Time Lord, played the role with an alien intensity, dangerous manic gleam and virile dynamism
David Tennant made us laugh but also delivered plenty of tear-jerking moments
Matt Smith crossed character both comic and tragic and back again. From physical slapstick and romantic smoulder to sheer existential angst.
As a study of branding human condition the players of the Dr Who role  make an interesting study and give encouragement to all in selling who wonder to how to sell themselves in an ever changing market. – fellow travellers in time and space.


* When oh when will Dr Who be a woman?  Selling has been ahead of the Dr Who brand for years

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