I have always admired the brand Virgin, as it reminded me of the David vs. Goliath story. Virgin is started by Richard Branson, a seemingly small, unknown guy from UK, who took on the big guys in many categories. He defied normal business conventions, and created products and services that he himself will be pleased with.
He started off with a chain of music record stores, and grew mega Virgin Record stores around the world in the 90’s. Then came Virgin airlines, the next venture he had. He travelled frequently and complained about the boring flights he had. So he set up Virgin airlines to provide better services, fighting against big companies such as British Airways. British Airways try to clobber and choke the new brand, but Virgin succeeded by its unconventional services such as free massages and much better in-flight conditions for economy and business class consumers. Other services like linkage transports at airports and pampering services during transitions were offered, providing excellent value.
Richard Branson is David, fighting against Goliaths such as British Airways, Coke, Levi’s, British Rail and Smirnoff. He enjoys winning against these complacent, bureaucratic and unresponsive giants. Richard is an underdog that cares, innovates and provides outstanding value vs. these giants.
An article on Virgin will not be complete without the outrageous publicity stunts by Branson. Why did he do all these crazy things? Low cost publicity and advertising, things loved by all marketers. He broke the rules of doing business and advertising with a great sense of humor. Take for example how he appeared in a wedding gown for the launch of his Virgin Brides brand, a wedding planner business.