The Immaculate Conception of Virgin’s Successful Sub-brands

The Immaculate Conception of Virgin’s Successful Sub-brands

FacebookLinkedInTwitter

In lieu of an epic Arthurian poem, consider this blog our ode to Sir Richard Branson. 25 years after establishing his Virgin brand, Sir Richard seems pretty content – we’d be grinning too if we were in his position – but never complacent. And for that, we extol our man as a master of perpetually growing the Virgin brand, a tricky endeavor even for the most adept mogul-billionaire.

On a personal level, he’s more Sir Paul than Sir Gawain – that is, he has reconciled his iconic status with an endearing, shaggy-haired-bloke accessibility. He’s larger than life, but somehow not remote, and he has impressively navigated the tricky art of expanding a master brand without overextending it.

Ask anyone to indulge you in a round of the Virgin Brand Word Association Game, and you’ll likely get a variety of responses. When I say Virgin, you may think of:

(1) The origin of it all, Virgin Records. From its humble beginnings in the 1970’s as a mail order record catalog, the business grew into a chain of Virgin Megastores, with the record company ultimately absorbed by the world’s third largest record company, EMI.

The record company and Megastore laid the foundation for decades of brand equity, as the Virgin name became synonymous with hipness as well as accessibility.

(2) If your respondent is an Angeleno, they may say Virgin Australia (technically named V Australia, as Virgin Atlantic shareholder Singapore Airlines put the kibosh on using the master brand name for the Aussie endeavor), whose ubiquitous billboards illuminate a large portion of LA skyline. Capitalizing on the insanely lucrative LA to Australia air travel route, not to mention minimal brand competition, Branson et al recently launched Virgin Australia, an appendage of his Virgin Air brand, which also includes Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic. For the record, one BrandCulture member is quite smitten with the latter after a recent trip to the UK.

The airline has garnered success by wisely positioning itself as a cheeky, quirky, and fun airline, while also asserting value and bang for buck. In the generally staid, beige airline industry, Virgin offers a vibrant crimson shot in the arm.

(3) If your respondent is a brand enthusiast, hospitality maven or luxury connoisseur, they may cite Virgin’s Limited Edition venture, Branson’s foray into luxury hospitality.  According to a BrandCulture sibling residing in London, the poshest club in town is, you guessed it, part of the VLE group.  We’ve not yet hobnobbed there, but from afar we’re delighting in the Virgin sub-brand’s name, a departure from traditionally descriptive names in favor of the evocatively luxurious and exclusive tones that Virgin Limited Edition exudes.

Is there anything Branson can’t do? Well, Virgin Cola probably won’t topple its biggest competitor (also crimson in hue) anytime soon – but we look forward to seeing what this lovable Renaissance Man rolls out next.

Now It’s Your Turn
FacebookLinkedInTwitter

Show all responses
Brand Strategy, Brands, Product Positioning, Strategic Branding
Is Swag Dead?

(As featured in Fast Company) We’ve all been there. You come home from that conference, meeting, or seminar with a head full of great ideas—and a bag full of branded merchandise. At first, it seems like you’ll definitely be using that pen, stress ball, or flashlight but as it migrates into a desk drawer filled […]

Learn More
Culture, Insurance, News, Trends
The Impact of Generative AI on the Insurance Sector

As seen in DIG-IN.com As new technologies continue to evolve and come online for the business world, so too do their iterations in the insurance sector. Recently many new tools have been developed which are designed to manage risk, minimize uncertainty and generate profits, boosting productivity and efficiency within the sector. Developments such as the […]

Learn More
Brand Strategy, Corporate Culture, Design, Identity Design
The Matter of Taste

As seen in Fast Company Whether apocryphal or not, the purported last words of bon vivant, tastemaker and wit Oscar Wilde were, “This wallpaper is dreadful, one of us will have to go.” But what is taste and how does one overcome the pernicious dynamic that when people lack taste they are unlikely to have […]

Learn More
Brand Strategy, Corporate Culture, Corporate Responsibility, Organizational Development
Insurers at the Front Lines of Climate Change

As seen in Dig-in.com. Insurance companies are often on the losing end of climate change, paying out increasingly exorbitant sums as extreme weather such as tornadoes, floods and fires damage property, agriculture and businesses. But flipping the perspective for a moment, can insurance companies take active measures to mitigate the risks of climate change? Insurance […]

Learn More

Ready to talk about how your brand and culture can do more for your business?

Let's talk
Let's talk