Missisippi Business Journal
by Lynn Lofton
Published: September 30,2012
Would you believe that businesses can learn from the rebranding of Batman? Rebranding is often the making of a business or product when things aren’t going in the right direction. There are business lessons in “The Boy Who Loved Batman” by Michael Uslan as he relates how this boy from New Jersey had a vision of helping his comic book hero, Batman, become the Dark Knight and gain the respect Uslan felt he deserved. It’s been more than two decades since Batman was rebranded and it’s largely due to a boy and his dream.
“When I watched the sitcom in 1966, I was both thrilled and horrified — the former because my idol was on TV with a cool car, and the latter because people were laughing at Batman and that just killed me,” Uslan said. “I knew then that my purpose in life was to show everyone who the Dark Knight really was.”
Although he was rejected from every studio in Hollywood because Batman was known as a punch line to a joke, Uslan persevered and became one of the highest-grossing movie executive producers of all time with the Batman film franchise.
Uslan lists the reasons the Batman franchise became one of the most successful in film history: a talented team; a built-in narrative; a safer investment (when a brand has been established, it becomes a safer risk for investors and opens multiple revenue streams); and, unwavering conviction.
“Branding is absolutely the most important aspect to marketing any product these days,” Uslan says. “We succeeded. I believed 100 percent in a vision that involved my favorite super hero of all time, a character the world recognized and responded to across borders and even cultures. Batman needed to be presented in a way he’d only been seen in the comic books — as the Dark Knight.”
The rebranding was so successful that the word Batman is no longer needed in movie titles. “The Dark Knight Rises” is the latest movie in the franchise.
Uslan is the originator and executive producer, along with his partner Benjamin Melniker, of the Batman franchise of motion pictures. In his 36 years in the film and television industry, he has also been involved with other projects, including “National Treasure,” “Constantine” and many animated projects. His projects have won Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. He is CEO of the Uslan Company, a new consulting and film development firm.