The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

In The Mind Of A Billionaire …
November 19, 2009, 6:29 am
Filed under: Comment

So it’s that time again where I ask you guys to do my work for me.

And no, you won’t get paid.

As usual.

Anyway, I’m doing something for my friends at Virgin – or should I say I’m trying to prove a point to my friends at Virgin – so without saying anything else for fear of being accused of manipulating the jury, I was hoping if you could answer these 4 questions for me:

1/ Of all Virgin brands, which is your favourite?

[Don’t care why – don’t care if’s it’s perceptual – want to know which Virgin brand resonates/excites you the most]

2/ Of all Virgin brands, which do you think is the companies ‘King’ & ‘Jester’?

[Don’t care why – don’t care if’s it’s perceptual – want to know which brand you feel represents the companies philosophy the most and the least]

3/ Yes or no, when you see all Virgin brands, are you surprised there’s that many?

4/ If you were Mr Branson, is there a category of business you feel is ripe to go into?

[You can suggest anything, the only caveat is that there’s a real commercial benefit to the company. You may suggest a subset of a category they already operate in or something completely new, but if you could give a very basic/general rationale for your thought, that would be great]

Should you want to do it confidentially [which is maybe what I should have done, ha!] you can email me here – however this is no trick question, it’s simply you articulating what your immediate response is to the questions I’ve just detailed.

Seriously, thank you so much … though hopefully it’ll be Mr B who is the most grateful.

Emphasis on the word “hopefully”. 🙂

39 Comments so far
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Should I be alarmed?

Comment by Lee Hill

1) People dont think like that
2) People dont think like that
3) No
4) Insurance – totally commoditised and lacking in customer service differentiation and ripe for the taking.

Comment by John

what do you think lee? can someone call george pronto, campbell is up to his usual tricks of trying to fuck up his pension.

Comment by andy@cynic

To Mr Dodds …

1/ They do when they care about something or someone … and whilst that might not be the case with brands, I think Virgin stands more of a chance than most – and besides, I’m just after a view, it’s not for some research metric, just a dipstick into people’s gut.

2/ You’re right, but I am asking them to think about it even though it might not be natural.

3/ Showoff.

4/ Ta.

Comment by Rob

“You don’t ask people what they want. Because if you asked a bunch of kids what they’d want in a cake, it’ll be 99% icing and 1% cake. And then they’d eat the cake, be sick and they’d blame us”


for what it’s worth here’re my answers:

1/ Virgin Atlantic

2/ King – Virgin Atlantic

Jester – Wines/Drinks

3/Yes…I know you didn’t ask but I’m surprised all of these are profitable (assuming they are)

4/ Amusement parks. Lots of them are going for peanuts because of the economy so now wouldn’t be a bad time to give it a shot.

Comment by rafik

I trust you’re doing this for our good so
VA / Trains
With you and George? Not a chance
Casinos. It would be fun to see how they would tackle an industry built on being over the top.

Comment by DH

1) Virgin Atlantic, probably a bit biased because I just watched a mini documentary on it showcasing the lounges and planes. It looked like a lot of fun and very practical.

2) King would be Virgin MegaStores / Record Labels: Not sure whats going on there, they are selling/sold off Megastores, and they keep starting up/selling off their music labels. In my mind its what made and shows the attitude of the brand.

Jester: Cola. Makes business sense when provided on Virgin Atlantic or through their other brands. Thought it devalued the brand when it was placed next to Tesco Value Cola and the likes in the shops.

3) Surprised when I first heard they had so many, not any more. Quite inspiring really.

4) Go more into the entertainment category, something fun and dynamic to balance out the more bland categories Virgin is into. Or provide more entertainment/fun value in the brands they do provide.
-Movies/Movie Theatres (3D)
-Back into music

-(start an advertising company)

Comment by Jacob

Casinos -nice.

Comment by Jacob

I can imagine George neede a respirator when he saw this post. 🙂

1. Richard Brason.

2. King is VA but for me the most “interesting” sub brand in their portfolio is Virgin Trains.

3. After 3 yeas on their business, no.

4. Insurance is prime Virgin territory but I like the casino idea. Never would of thought of that but I like the idea of seeing how they’d go against the kings of experience overload.

Breathe George, it’s Rob’s pension as well and he loves gadgets to much to screw it up. LOL.

Comment by Bazza

Here you go:

1) Virgin Megastore as that’s the only Virgin brand I really encountered (during frequent London visits years ago) so far

2) King: Virgin Atlantic as I only hear good stuff about them, Jester: Coke (does it still exist?) or peeking at the company pages: Virgin Limousine

3) No, in a sense that I knew it’s a group of companies, yes in terms of some of the directions they went into…

4) A converged all-media device (to avoid the word smartphone), maybe a bit late to enter that arena but it makes sense linking all their mobility, travel, media things together… (the reverse thing of what nokia is trying to do with Ovi )..

Comment by Johan

Richard Branson

King: Virgin Atlantic
Jester: Coke seemed pointless and unsuccessful.

Had no idea. It’s impressive & inspiring though it makes me wonder how many are making big $s.

Nursing homes. Massive profits and they could do them without the stigma and misery attached to them. Could be called “Old Virgins”.

Comment by Iain Carver

This is great folks – thanks for this [especially the new guys on here] and thanks to anyone who is still yet to comment.

And Iain, I love the nursing home name, maybe an alternative name is ‘Disgracefully Old’?

Comment by Rob

1) Comic books

2) va king king, sir Richard jester

3) no

4) b2b sector starting with advertising

Comment by Niko

I think Niko is Rob in disguise.

Comment by Bazza

1. Virgin Atlantic (though the sheer audacity of Virgin Cola puts it close)

2. King: Virgin Atlantic
Jester: Virgin Galactic (at least until people get it/travel). Possibly used to be Virgin Trains, but over last few years my experiences with them have been very good.

3. No in terms of numbers, yes in terms of the areas they sometimes cover.

4. Not overtly, but they seem to do well on entertainment related areas

Comment by Rob Mortimer

1. Living in Germany I have little or no exposure to Virgin or their Brands.

2. See answer 1.

3. Yes.

4. Me.

Comment by Marcus

1. Virgin Atlantic/ Megastore
2. King: VG. Jester: Wine
3. No
4. Hospital (I just saw the Nursing home comment but trust me I had the health care idea much before. Okay am a copycat)under Hotels, Resorts and Hospitality. Health Insurance under VM (go ahead call me a slack) and lastly, CONDOMS … Virgin Condoms … bloody awesome product it will be. 🙂 Condoms can later diversify to branded sex toys and accessories. Don’t forget to open an exclusive showroom in Gambia 🙂

Comment by pooR_Planner

Virgin Hospitals are basically Boutique Resort Hospitals at exotic locations, where sick people can be transported using Virgin Cruise or Atlantic and pampered with Virgin Music and Cola 🙂

Virgin Health Insurance covers up the cost. But I still want a Virgin Condom.

Comment by pooR_Planner

They did condoms years ago – maybe they still do, but more from the safe sex angle than the Virgin brand angle.

Comment by John

Old folk’s home alternative name: Virgin Forever.

Virgin Church – lot of newborn “christian” movement going on in US as well as in Asia…

Comment by Johan

I wonder if Rob Mortimer knows he’s just picked a fight with cynic. LOL.

I’m trying to work out what this is all about because I thought you were working with Richard on a new business venture, but now you’re asking for possible categories Virgin could go in, I’m not so sure what’s going on.

Stop teasing, you’re killing me but really killing George. 🙂

Comment by Bazza

For the benefit of Marcus I didn’t mean to sound like I was name dropping in my previous comment. That’s Rob’s role.

Comment by Bazza

always nice to meet a fan

Comment by niko

I almost forgot. all things halal

Comment by niko

1) Virgin Atlantic

2) There isn’t a King – I see this as one of the strengths of the brand. Jester – Richard Branson.

3) No.

4) Retail Banking.

Comment by Will

casinos and nursing homes. you mad fuckers.

give me a fucking itablet baz and ill spill the beans. dont and youre a nosy dwarf.

Comment by andy@cynic

Most virgin brands that spring to mind no longer exist – records, megastore, radio etc

But to answer your questions
1. Richard Branson – no1. brand, more cliche than human
2. King = media, though it probably loses money. Jester = coke, though I know of very few brands
3. Yes, hence crap answer to 2.
4. Ad agency – you guys could compare ideas 😉

Comment by Simon

Happy to get involved in the fight. If you want me to clarify let me know…

If it’s about what I think then actually I probably agree with you but think that regardless. If not then ignore that. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Actually, the comment that Branson himself is the top brand is very interesting.

My brother did uni work about Virgin Bingo and you folks got a picture of the man himself to help out. I think that raised his grade by several marks!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Robert once wrote a paper to the Virgin board in which under a picture of Richard Branson, he had emblazoned the heading “Embarrassing Uncle”. After that incident there is little else he could do that could cause me to call upon the use of a respirator though had I not known Robert was doing this or the reasons behind it, there may of been a nervous gulp in the household this morning.
The feedback is very interesting, especially when compared to the views gathered from people much closer to the brand and some of the suggestions for brand extension are exemplary.
This may seem a small and seemingly insignificant dipstick survey, but it’s implications are potentially far reaching so I would like to personally thank everyone who took the time to answer the questions.

Comment by George

Are you calling Rob’s readers small and insignificant dipsticks?

Comment by John

Also I should point out that Virgin Media has done a remarkable job considering the absolute shambles of a hopeless wreck of a sprawling mess that was NTL.

When I had issues over whether I could get it I blogged and was contacted the same day by someone who managed my query til it was resolved.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Oh and retail banking is a smart one given the challenger and public championing image of the Virgin brand.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

1. Virgin Galactic, for thinking ahead.

2. in terms of philosophical fit – most: VA / least: Virgin1 TV.

3. Yes – there’s quite a few brands but they are within a small number of categories.

4. Retail banking would appear to have some openings at present, perhaps in the context of microloans and credit unions.

Comment by Chris

auntie george by name auntie george by nature.

and virgin had a retail bank ready to go till the brit government fucked them (and us). it was called northern rock.

Comment by andy@cynic

look at me being mr fucking political. i sound like ben elton before he sold out and wrote shit musicals for shit bands.

Comment by andy@cynic

1) richard branson

2) king: virgin galactic
jester: virgin galactic

3) no, but i was when i first saw the list on wikipedia

4) individual/private transport, in cooperation with green fund and unite, maybe even with virgin atlantic. the very basic rationale is that there is a (growing) need for it, out of various reasons, pretty much everywhere.

disclaimer: as far as i remember just now, i only used virgin mobile and megastores, seen virgin balloons and heard people talk about going to v festival. thats not much of an experience when looking at the amount of brands.

Comment by peggy

(1) Whatever George tells me it should be

(2) King: Whatever George worked on
Jester: Whatever Rob worked on

(3) Are you kidding? I was bored out my mind hearing about it every day I was at cynic.

(4) Whatever George tells me it should be

Comment by Billy Whizz

rob, see my email.

billy, you’re creeping again. stop it, it doesn’t become you.

Comment by lauren

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