Richard Branson, an English Business icon with international recognition, is the Chairman of the Virgin Group, a global brand which most notably includes Virgin Mobile and Virgin Airlines among many others. Although his roots are in the record industry, tracing Virgin Records all the way back to 1972, he has been able to successfully market products throughout numerous industries and across multiple platforms.
From his monumental success with Virgin Airlines and Virgin Mobile, the latter selling for close to $1 Billion, Branson has continued to expand his brand into new, emerging arenas, including Virgin Galactic and LauncherOne, which aims to develop a service which would allow customers to travel outer space. Branson has continually demonstrated an intense commitment to all aspects of customer service and to developing the customer experience.
Richard Branson knew both the big picture and the details of his business ventures. Even early in his business career, Branson had a vision, although tweaked occasionally, for his brand and how to develop it across multiple industries. For example, although Virgin Records started as an advertising service, he had the vision to restructure the entire industry—which ultimately led to changes regarding the process of record re-sale and discounting and distribution.
With the Rattay 2 sports industry continually becoming more dynamic and complex, especially as technology and digital media become increasingly influential, it is crucial to thoroughly understand all facets of an operation. As an entrepreneur, Branson has been able to develop and sharpen his business skills through a plethora of different ventures. His first business was magazine, Student, that he launched when he was just 16 years old.
He acknowledges that since that time it has become much more difficult to successfully launch a business because of the aforementioned changes, which he was able to recognize and, in turn, use to his advantage: “In the 46 years since I launched Student magazine, the world has certainly changed. The uncertain economic outlook and the relentless pace of technological advances make replicating Virgin’s success much more challenging for today’s young entrepreneur” (Entrepreneur). Branson has always stayed ahead of the curve in industry shifts and changes, allowing him to remain dominant in each of is ventures. For example, Branson recognized marketing challenges and opportunities much earlier than his competitors, thus being able to successfully address and pioneer these challenges: “There is also marketers’ new ability to bypass traditional channels — TV, radio and newspapers — and build a strong following online for their companies via Twitter, Google+, Facebook and new applications such as Path and Klout. This means that most startups are able to launch with smaller marketing budgets, and entrepreneurs can break into new markets fast.
It also means that successful companies must defend their positions, because their products can go out of fashion just as quickly as they caught on” (Entrepreneur). Branson has been able to use social media as a platform to market his companies, a crucial aspect to building and maintaining his Virgin brand. In addition, it helped centralize his efforts as his ventures cover a multitude of industries. Rattay 3 Branson later demonstrated his aptitude for understanding the ‘big picture’ with Virgin Atlantic.
When he was preparing to launch his new company Virgin Atlantic, he demonstrated his business savvy in recognizing how “high capital costs lead to high risks” (Burns). To combat this, he was able to decrease costs by “leasing everything then being able to offer a good quality service at attractive prices” (Burns). Branson’s aptitude for finding the best possible solution, whether it be budgeting , cutting costs or one of the many other issues Branson has addressed in his business career, has been proven to be a transferable skillset, as his companies range from to mobile phones to airplanes to financial services.
In the sports industry, marketing plays a major role at every level. A sports executive has to comprehend the overarching, all-encompassing trends, from understanding national television rights and advertising deals to labor negotiations. However, it is equally important to remember to address the details of current issues and new trends in order to successfully manage one’s operation. Branson certainly understands this concept as he constantly covers his bases, never overlooking anything, or anyone, in his ventures.
For example, in a company as massive as Virgin, it would be easy to feel distant or disconnected from his numerous employees. However, Branson actively engages with all of his employees, working relentlessly to keep them content. He recognizes the value of one’s employees and the direct impact they have on the company: “Your employees are your best asset. Happy employees make for happy customers” (Entrepreneur). Not only does Branson heavily value his employees, he also is very adamant about engaging face-to-face with all of his clients or business associates.
The most intriguing aspect of Branson is his extremely personable and outgoing personality which is arguably his greatest asset. He comes across as very approachable and is constantly expanding his contacts. He Rattay 4 realized that he could not use his personality to his advantage via text or email, thus making it point to meet and engage in person, or at least over the phone, in order to exploit his greatest business tool.
Branson has continually been recognized for mastering three phases of his business ventures, essentially progressing from networking to finding new opportunities to securing funds to launch the business. Every new venture his creates or seeks begins with Branson tapping into or expanding his already enormous network. His desire to engage in person can be seen in his corporate structure, which helps maximize interaction: “He hates formal meetings and has no headquarters, not even a board room as the company does not hold regular board meetings.
Instead he prefers to make decisions on a face-to-face basis, albeit sometimes over the phone, but always developing and testing his personal relationships” (Burns). Branson believes that encouraging face-to-face collaboration helps create a more efficient and, more importantly, comfortable work environment: “Employees must feel free and encouraged to openly express themselves without rigid confines so they can do better work and make good, impactful decisions” (Business Insider). Clearly, Branson highly values in person interaction as it can have a direct influence on the quality of work performed.
With the sports industry rapidly growing, specifically in regard to the number of employees, it is easy for executives and managers to fall victim to the same pitfalls of other industries in which a personable, friendly, and welcoming work environment is replaced with a more serious tone. Networking is one of the most, if not the most, important aspect of leveraging a career in the sports industry. An aspiring sports executive must develop an extensive network of contacts in order to accomplish goals and advance their career. In addition, Branson ould be a great fit in the sports industry because he can serve as the face of a sports organization, which is crucial in Rattay 5 terms of developing the brand, whether it is a team, property, or event. Branson’s ability to build brand awareness would allow a sports organization to explore other, nontraditional ways to generate revenue. Lastly, his creativity and innovation would help further develop the entire sports industry, especially in the technology era in which competition is fierce and the nature of the industry is constantly changing and progressing.
Richard Branson has launched numerous companies and has been involved with countless business ventures. His passion for networking and in person engagement would help create new, cutting edge opportunities. His illustrious business career was directly influenced and enabled by his visionary leadership. His innate ability to connect and activate his brand throughout various business ventures and within vastly different industries has allowed for revolutionary achievement and continued growth.
Branson, a dedicated Oxford United supporter, has long demonstrated a vested interest in sports, which is evident in his company Virgin Active- a company which uses athletics as a vehicle for health awareness in countries worldwide. His love and passion for sports, especially action sports, coupled with his ability to develop new strategies to engage customers, makes Richard Branson an ideal candidate to run a franchise and would allow for a successful transition into the sports industry. Rattay 7 Works Cited
Burns, Paul. Corporate Entrepreneurship: Building the Entrepreneurial Organization. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print. Davis, Kathleen. “Inside Richard Branson’s Unconventional Business Approach. ” Entrepreneur. N. p. , 5 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <http://www. entrepreneur. com/blog/224599>. Stanger, Melissa. “18 Tips For Success From Richard Branson. ” Business Insider. N. p. , 17 Sept. 2012. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <http://www. businessinsider. com/18-tips-for-success-from-richard-branson-2012-9? op=1>.