The greatest advert for Virgin is probably its CEO – Richard Branson. Virgin’s brand values emanate from him. In many ways, Branson is the consumers’ hero, an entrepreneur operating in a style all of his own. In addition to his status as one of Britain’s most respected businessmen, Richard Branson’s daredevil antics, such as ballooning across the Atlantic, have guaranteed the Virgin brand its fair share of publicity.
It is difficult to identify how brand values relate to such widespread appeal. Many feel that it is because he is a genuine article and not a slick product of a media charm school. For Virgin Atlantic, the PR created through Branson has been an important part of the widespread success of the brand and the values with which consumers can associate. The role of the airline itself has been that of matching the reality of the product with the values created by the image.
Branson model makes a case for the charismatic personal brand, and how elevating your personal brand can help you and your company within the social spaces.
Richard Branson is a dynamic personality and CEO of Virgin. He leverages his personal site as the central hub of all of his social media activity. He has a strong presence on his blog, twitter account and Facebook page. Each of these social places link to eachother, and he makes it very easy to follow him, and to share the content that he provides. He is ensuring that he owns his personal brand, and allows his followers the ability to discover his content via numerous outlets. Here’s a visual of his social places:
Richard makes it easy for his content to be easily shared in the social places. When a reader “likes” his content on his site, it will post it out to the reader’s Facebook friends. This is an excellent execution of the Facebook Open Graph. Now when the reader’s friends see this link it functions essentially as an ad unit for Richard. This is free advertising for Richard, and will easily serve as a creative way for Richard to cultivate additional followers. Chances are that if the reader “liked” his content, some of the reader’s like minded friends on Facebook will like the content as well. This will snowball into a thriving community of like minded followers who are interested in Richards content.
Think of the implications this will have on any personal brand. This is where social media starts to get really exciting. You don’t have to spend money on ad units, you just have to create content that you feel will resonant with your community.