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Richard Branson and the Virgin Group - Coursework Example

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The $10 billion Virgin Group, comprising of over 200 companies in over 30 countries and employing over 50,000 people, is the brainchild of Richard Branson, the intrepid British entrepreneur (Anwar/Deresky, 2007/2009)…
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Richard Branson and the Virgin Group
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Download file to see previous pages The group’s activities span such disparate lines of business as music, airlines, rail transport, movie industry, financial services, telecommunications, soft drinks, space travel, tourism, health services and much more. As can be expected, some of the ventures did not live up to the expectations, inviting criticism of the limits to which a brand’s power can be stretched by reckless and unrelated diversification. At the same time, the unique leadership that Branson provides with commonsense approach, changing corporate and functional strategies continuously, laying focus on corporate governance, customer satisfaction and employee-motivation belie the flamboyant extrovert who exploits every opportunity to enhance Virgin’s brand power for success of the various ventures under its umbrella. The case study explores the story of an entrepreneur who dares to challenge established notions of limits of brand dilution, diversification into unrelated areas, value of commonsense in business, and informality in organizational/communication matters. Talking to the Forbes magazine on 1 February 1997, Branson said, “If you can run one company, you can run any company. You can learn the nuances of a particular industry in two months. And it is so great being in so many different businesses. That is the fun of it” (Anon., n.d., The last part is a give away (the fun and enjoyment of being in business) for the Branson persona. Occasional failure or short-on-performance does not dilute Branson’s vision for making Virgin as one of the world’s leading brands. Failures While the Virgin Record Company and related businesses were highly successful, Branson’s move into the highly competitive airlines industry and challenging the major established players with cheap travel plans was not so successful. In fact, in the early 1990s, Branson had to sell off his first love, the music company, in order to support the faltering Virgin Atlantic Airways, which faced intense competition from the British Airways, the dominant player. Although Virgin Atlantic Airways started off well since its inception in 1984 and went public in 1986, the stock market crash of 1987 led to crash of its share prices forcing Branson to buy back the public stock and turn it into a private firm once again (Anon., n.d., The Virgin Group’s cable company NTL planned acquisition of a stake in the media and entertainment business which was dominated by Rupert Murdoch, by acquiring nearly 20% stake in the company ITV (Barr, 2006; Clothier, CNN, 2006). These plans were thwarted by Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB, who outbid NTL. This episode exposed Branson’s inability to accept defeat in grace. Another criticism of the Virgin Group has been its inability to fully integrate local cultural nuances into its management policies and branded products. In order to overcome this situation, Branson brought in a well-known marketing specialist Ashley Stockwell, as Virgin’s Brand Marketing Director (Anon., n.d., Branson’s foray into the movie industry with the acquisition of MGM in 1995 was again a failure, which he readily accepted and described it as a premature decision (Anon., n.d., Reasons for success Branson’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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