A business topic today on The Greg Brady Project. Specifically, Barry shares what businesses can learn from a show that has never stopped airing and what opportunities exist with his iconic brand.
TGBP: There is clearly deep love for what you did as a Brady and for what The Brady Bunch represents. Why has it stuck with people?
Barry: The chemistry and the respect that our cast had for each other came through on the screen. It’s endured because situations were handled in believable ways, the themes were timeless and the storylines revolved around finding the right thing to do. They’re morality tales: consider others; tell the truth; do right by yourself and those around you.
TGBP: Are there any learnings from that time that apply to life today?
Barry: I think the themes are timeless. The teachings from the show applied before, during and after the show had originally aired. They continue to resonate. As people long for simpler times, The Brady Bunch helps take them there.
TGBP: When The Brady Bunch appeared, we only had a limited number of channels. If it came back, do you think it would be a TV show, or do you think it might take on a different format?
Barry: I think it would still be a TV show. The themes would be the same, but obviously the situations would be different, more contemporary. The storylines would still focus on navigating to the right result. It certainly wouldn’t be a reality show, because in The Brady Bunch everything in each show was wrapped up and resolved. It would still be aimed at a broad audience, although, given the huge proliferation in channels, it might play on a more focused network these days.
TGBP: People may or may not know that you have the distinction of being on air without interruption for 45 years and that you have 27 million half hours of watching time to your credit through re-runs and syndication. What do you do with all that love?
Barry: I’m grateful. I have a privileged existence. Three generations of people relate to the show. I’m recognized wherever I go, which is both amazing and humbling. I once had a bus stop right in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City, right in the middle of the street, so that people could wave and say hi to me on the sidewalk. I’m enormously grateful and very respectful of it.
TGBP: You’re a performer. You’re also an author and screenwriter, and you’ve been a reality show star. What other areas can you see yourself pursuing in the years ahead?
Barry: I’ve actually been able to pursue every aspect of the entertainment industry that interests me. I’ve worked in radio, I’ve recorded, I’ve starred on Broadway and toured nightclubs, authored a best selling book and of course I now have my own musical variety show, 70s Music Celebration! Starring Barry Williams in Branson, Missouri. One thing I’d like to get back to is working with companies to endorse products I believe in. I think there’s more and more need for companies to be associated with goodness and with a wholesome approach to life. This is where I can help build brands through endorsements and brand licensing.
TGBP: Do you think of yourself as a brand?
Barry: Very much so. So much money and time has been poured into The Brady Bunch phenomenon. I’m aligned with that and an active part of that. So I have two brands that I’m directly accountable to: my own personal brand of course, but also The Brady Bunch brand.
TGBP: How do you market yourself?
Barry: I’m active on social media, I appear on TV shows, I do extensive appearances both nationally and locally. You can never rest on your laurels. I’m hosting the Annual Broadcasters show in Missouri in June next year. Marketing is about staying relevant for the people who are interested in the brand and the message. I take those responsibilities very seriously.
TGBP: How should people who are famous look to turn that fame into cash today? And what challenges do they face doing so?
Barry: It’s important to stand for something that people value, you need to be authentic, you need to recognize that everything you do can be scrutinized, and you need to accept and welcome the opportunities that come your way. I was always careful not to become a persona, to stay true to who I am. That’s always worked for me. I don’t have secrets, so I’m not looking over my shoulder wondering if anything’s going to surface. People are always going to like you or not, that’s just part of what happens. But staying true and building trust, those are the greatest assets you can have in my view.
TGBP: What will many people not be aware of about you? What will take them by surprise?
Barry: While I grew up in the entertainment capitol of LA and Hollywood I now make the Midwest my home. Four years ago I decided to move to the small, picturesque town of Branson, Missouri. Very conservative, a very different way of life – but I love it here. There’s a simplicity and an openness to living in this place that I really love and there’s a very strong entertainment community. I’m very happy here.
TGBP: What do you think comes to people’s minds when they hear The Brady Bunch, Greg Brady or Barry Williams names? What feelings do they have?
Barry: I think they recall a time in their lives when things seemed gentler, simpler, more innocent in the best sense of that word. And I think they feel a positive familiarity and connection, one that represents purity and goodness. I think that sense of virtue has been lost in today’s programming. It’s more cynical, graphic and darker.
TGBP: Do you recall particular brands that were used on the show?
Barry: Product placement wasn’t part of the format then. I think we used Dodge cars but apart from that nothing was branded. In fact, having brands on the show was discouraged because I think the network worried it could affect bookings for commercials. It’s been interesting to see how the associations of The Brady Bunch brand has been tapped into from my work with Disney and Hallmark to the recent Snickers campaign. Wholesome to edgy is quite a range for any brand in my view.
TGBP: What brands do you think align with the Brady image?
Barry: Brands that revolve around family, around people and around working together. Greg was America’s most reliable big brother. I think the kinds of brands that align would be those looking to strike a chord through trustworthiness, authenticity, family…those kinds of qualities…wholesome, passionate, friendly, fun and real.
TGBP: What’s missing in today’s culture/programming in your view that brands should consider?
Barry: I think we’ve given in to the cynicism. I think we’ve lost sight of values and morals, and I think that’s sad because I don’t think those ideas have never been more important.
TGBP: Finally, what can brands do to contact you regarding licensing and endorsements?
Barry: I’d be happy to explore this with brands, business owners and marketers. Start by contacting Derrick Daye at The Blake Project in Los Angeles to see if what my brand represents strategically aligns with your business objectives.
This interview first appeared on Branding Strategy Insider.