What's the Difference Between James Bond and Captain America? Product Positioning!
Thursday, February 12, 2015
There's a famous saying in the field of software engineering:
There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.
While the former is far outside the scope of this article, naming is fundamentally important to pricing strategy. One must only compare two heroic figures to understand why:
- 007 is the code name for James Bond - the greatest secret agent that the world has ever known. As a government-trained employee and ex-naval officer, he is at the peak of physical health. Although he does not have any superpowers, he can perform feats of incredible difficulty and heroism. With the assistance of government-supplied tools, he has defended the free world from the evil Soviet Union and other nefarious forces.
- Captain America is the code name for Steve Rogers - a relatively unimpressive superhero. Thanks to government training and medical care, this former army conscript was able to achieve the peak of physical health. Despite his lack of superpowers, he has saved many lives. With the aid of government-supplied tools, he has defended the west from communist agents and others who would do harm to the good people of the world.
On the face of it, the two characters have a lot in common. Yet there is one big difference: product positioning! Because the highly-skilled James Bond is categorized as a "secret agent," his reputation as being the cream of the crop is assured. Meanwhile, Captain America is frequently grouped with the likes of Superman and the Green Lantern - superheroes with extraordinary powers that could snap him like the proverbial twig. As a result, his accomplishments are devalued and he stands as but one of many superheroes, far from the most impressive in his class.
Each character has effectively self-categorized himself by his nomenclature. As a result, Mr. Bond can be marketed at premium pricing levels (because he's the best in class) while poor Mr. Rogers' pricing must be discounted (due to the significant competition in his class).
Every person (whether secret agent, superhero, or even just businessman) deserves a better understanding of pricing theory. If you're operating in the field of software engineering, you need a copy of my book on software pricing. If you're not, you'd certainly benefit from a private pricing consultation. You'll go from zero to hero in no time flat.
P.S. Before anyone suggests that James Bond couldn't be considered a superhero because he doesn't wear a mask, I would point out that many superheroes (including Justice League members Superman, the Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman and John Stewart) do not wear masks either.