Posts Tagged ‘Brand Management’

Can a fictional character assume a life and will power of its own? Can he scale heights of popularity and importance greater than those of his author and creator? That is precisely what appears to have happened in the case of Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional detective.May 2014 379

The Final Problem was intended to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle´s last work portraying Sherlock Holmes. He entertained a belief that the Sherlock Holmes stories were distracting him from more serious literary efforts. An option available to the author was that of “killing” Holmes and undertake other literary endeavors.May 2014 380

In order to keep the fans of the detective in good humor, the author came up with a plot which involved Holmes saying good-bye with a flourish, ridding the world of a criminal so powerful and dangerous that any further task would be trivial in comparison (Holmes says as much in the story).May 2014 381

All authors walk a thin line between imagination and reality. In 1893, Conan Doyle and his wife toured Switzerland and discovered the village of Meiringen in the Bernese Alps. It was here that the idea of killing Sherlock Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls took shape.May 2014 382

However, Doyle let the detective die in circumstances shrouded in mystery. No revolvers. No air guns. No African powders which emit deadly vapors. No eyewitnesses. No physical remains. No deceptive burials. Simply, a natural setting. Just the footprints in a muddy dead-end path. Signs of a violent struggle which make Dr. Watson come to the conclusion that Holmes is no more.May 2014 383

When one picks up a Sherlock Holmes story, one is assured of good value for one`s time and effort. Backed by hard-nosed judgement, insightful observations and above-par analytical skills, he delivers. He is utterly reliable. These are the very attributes which go on to build up a brand.

Eventually, the brand called Sherlock Holmes proved to be stronger. Pressure from fans persuaded Doyle to bring Holmes back, first writing The Hound of the Baskervilles and then resurrecting him in The Adventure of the Empty House.May 2014 384

Finally, it transpired that Sherlock Holmes had actually won the struggle at Reichenbach Falls and sent Moriarty to his death though nearly meeting his own at the hands of Moriarty’s henchmen. Conan Doyle could plausibly resurrect Holmes, much to the eternal delight and gratitude of the detective`s fans!May 2014 385

Have you come across any other characters in literature which survived their creatorエs attempt to vanquish them?!

For management experts, herein lies a potential case study: How to make a brand assume a higher stature than the corporate entity which creates it!

(Illustrations from the Sherlock Holmes Museum at Meiringen, Switzerland)

(Related post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/sherlock-holmes-the-honorary-citizen-of-meiringen-switzerland)

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