Something really nice happened to me yesterday. Holly Branson, daughter of Sir Richard, replied to my comment on her LINKEDIN post. The post was all about her famous Dad reaching is 70th birthday. It showed him in a pilot’s uniform sitting on a Virgin Atlantic aircraft with Holly’s mum, and Holly sitting on her mum’s knee. As usual Sir Richard looked like a rockstar, confident, smiling and kind. He is clearly enjoying being with his family in his new adventure – this is after all the Master of diversification!
As a person who has been lucky enough to travel a lot with my business and having been a Gold Flying Club member for a number of years, the picture resonated with me on a deep level.
Firstly, as an entrepreneur myself I look to people like Sir Richard for inspiration. Brit ingenuity is the stuff that Great Britain was made of and we celebrate people like him for being a gamechanger. He is in the same lane as Bill Gates, and Elon Musk – people who have stretched their vision to the edge of human experience.
Secondly as someone who has travelled on Virgin Atlantic and been greeted with hellos from regular crew and lounge members, I have seen for myself how Sir Richard’s fabulous personality has imbued itself into the team that makes up the Virgin brand. What I have seen is the little flourishes of a generous brand – cool, quirky but with a kindness that is often missing when a brand gets too big. Disney has the same sort of this running through its brand. Virgin has it too.
Thirdly I have always felt safe on a Virgin aircraft. I fly a lot, but I don’t necessarily like flying. But flying to the US, India and even in Australia when I step on a Virgin plane, I feel comfortable. The brand runs from the time you check in to the time you leave the aircraft. I have converted all my family to choose Virgin first, and I am now a Virgin fan for life.
So, you can understand that when Holly Branson takes a moment out of her busy day to respond to my comment, as a fan I was absolutely delighted. It reinforces my connection with the brand and the people behind it. The Bransons seem to me like good guys and they are a British business success story, both as a brand and a family.
As I write this blog offering, I realise this is how I want my brand to be. We are entrepreneurs. We have broken the mould on many aspects of a business which is our heritage and even now we are continuing to do this by making it part of our business rather than our entire business. Sir Richard did the same. He started with records and ended up with a space programme. Diversification is vital to survive. Space is Virgin’s new frontier. Global business solutions are Shergroup’s.
Secondly what you see in Shergroup definitely has Sandbrook atoms running through it. I like transparency, good service, friendliness and kindness and over the years I have picked and supported my core team who have the same values. This may seem strange to some – but to me it is vital that we entwine all these traits into the Shergroup’s own DNA.
Finally, we want people to feel they are receiving expert delivery in our services when they work with Shergroup or their life is touched by Shergroup. This is something we work on everyday as we measure and manage our delivery.
So, I thank Holly for responding to a Virgin Superfan and I wish Sir Richard and his entire TEAM the very best as they sit on the edge of their biggest adventure yet – the exploration of space.