Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. He also has one of the greatest personal brand of all time, even bigger than his company's branding. How did he do that? Learn here, in this episode!
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Additional Voice: Charles The Voice
Music: Have a Smoke by Crowander (CC BY 4.0)
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Welcome to Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass. Jon is the founder and CEO of image group international and award-winning image consulting and personal branding pioneer established in 1989. This podcast will bring you old-school wisdom, inspiring ideas, strategies, and hacks for the new tech world. Here you will learn everything about personal branding: the system, the techniques, and the right mindset to have a successful personal brand, image, and reputation.
Hello everybody, today I'm going to analyze Richard Branson's personal brand. For those who don't know him, he is the business magnate, investor and founder of the Virgin Group. Let me tell you why I decided to analyze his personal brand. Since the outset, with Virgin Records, Richard Branson has been known as a controversial at times crazy type of individual that has succeeded in so many different industries where many have failed prior. And of course, he's built such a reputation for his, you know, his reputation from the perspective of being highly sexual, a party animal, you know, and being a member of the Mile High Club, you know, and if you look at his book scored, let's do it. I think that epitomizes everything about Richard Branson and the success that he's achieved.
Richard Branson's opinions on branding as selling his own words, a simple build your own brand you've built out of your business. So from a personality point of view, from a personal branding perspective, what is actually saying is build your personal brand, in a way where you've done the similar with your business, but of course, to the personal brand, it's even so much easier, because your personal brand cannot be copied. It's unique to you cannot be taken by anybody where the business brand can be copied, and of course, duplicated, as we see in the business world every day of the week. So our personal brand, your qualities, your mindset, your purpose, your values cannot be copied because they are unique to you. So personal brand big, you know, he's actually saying become the CEO of me unlimited, you know, create your own unique, original personal brand, and virtually make it stand out because it cannot be copied.
When we think of Richard Branson, we think about, you know, his personality, and how different he is from most business people. This certainly comes across as authentic, audacious, and also a creative disrupter. You know, he has a mindset that virtually is different. He thinks differently. And that I think that's one of the reasons for his major success from a marketing media perspective, is because it does stand out differently, you know, I suppose it can be compared at times to an Elon Musk, from the perspective of being different and interesting from what he has to say, of course, is also humorous, is cheeky, is charming, you know, these are all great aspects, you know, of a personal brand. And of course, the Uzi Azzam, he's always, you know, pumped up and alive from that perspective. So you can see why, you know, from a differentiation point of view, he's very unique. And I think there's a lot to learn from that he's got the courage to be himself. And at times, it can be very charming the same time, you know, from an entrepreneurial perspective, wow. Entrepreneurship at its best is very out there. He takes risks. But the interesting thing about risks with Richard Branson is, believe it or not, directly calculated risks. They do not just risk from the perspective of just taken and then just hopefully, things will work out a tour plan. It's all calculated. It's all strategic. It just looks at times that it's not, but Richard Branson's a very smart guy, obviously, you don't get to billionaire territory if you're not so that quality is that really make him stand out, are so unique to him that at times impossible to copy because they are so original for him and that's why his personal brand stands out. And of course, is one of the most popular and well-known brands on the planet. And how did Richard become one of the world's personal branding masters basically stayed true to his values? Like for instance, adventure and risk-taking, like I mentioned earlier, but being himself he has done exactly what other business, you know, leaders have actually fought against you know, they've gone opposite to that you know more with the status quo. Richard Branson has been known to tackle the status Call and take on convention. And with that his unorthodox style, you know, a commitment to his passions, I've helped him create a very powerful personal brand. And of course, an extraordinary business brand known as Virgin Records.
The thing about him being a master is this, he has created hundreds of different spin-offs of the Virgin brand. And we're talking about, some have been extraordinarily successful, like, for instance, Virgin Airlines, Virgin Money, Virgin Trains, and of course, some others have been absolute failures. But the interesting thing about the Richard Branson brand and the Virgin brand, per se, is even the failures have contributed well, to the coffers of the Virgin company, because Richard Branson sells the licensing to the brand. So even if a business fails, he still gets his licensing fees, they're getting to leverage the brand name, and open up other opportunities from that, just from the point of view of the network effect, or what the brand creates. So you know, the, it's the epitome of licensing the brand, because the thing is, if you have to invest all the money constantly in your new product or service with a particular brand, it takes a lot of resources, you know, his model from a licensing perspective is proved to be very effective. And of course, that's why there is hundreds of associations with the Virgin brand out there and other close association with similar brands that are close to the Virgin brand. They're not, you know, that might not be called exactly virgin, but he's associated with the Virgin brand. So, overall, a great success story, but one that's definitely has been committed to from day one and has persevered spectacularly, even at times, you know, he's had to deal with failures along the way, I suppose. no different to any entrepreneur.
So what can we learn through a Richard Branson personal brand, and of course, the corporate brand? Well, definitely the first thing you think about the brand of Richard Branson is an entrepreneur say it's an entrepreneurial brand that's rebellious, it's bold, it's big. It's, you know, it's also big in thinking in a big vision. And from that perspective, some of the words that would come up would be, you know, eat fun, or there's an element of, he's definitely big into teamwork. These are all associations with associations, the red is very competitive. Again, any stands out. And at times, also, there's, there's an element of frugality involved with the brand as well because he doesn't, you know, he doesn't promote and over and an overabundance of just spending, spend, spend, although he does come across as very abundant. At times, it's very, fairly frugal, as well, certainly, certainly from the people in the know. He's also, you know, very family orientated. He's been married, obviously to his second wife now for over 32 years. And although in his early days, he was more freewheeling and I don't know about his private life now, how freewheeling that is. But certainly, the image and the perception out there is that of course, he loves respect. And of course, it's very close to his family. Some of the other things about him also, and you know, what the brand represents the qualities is about his edgy, you know, he's fun, all the stuff, or, you know, all the stuff that we at times, would want to sort of, you know, be associated with, and also as a great negotiator. Some of the deals that he's done from a negotiation point of view are fairly extraordinary. And of course, is infamous for some of the deals is created from the early days, with Virgin Records, right, right till now, by taking down you know, established industries and the status quo. Richard Branson is constantly evolving, is constantly changing. And I think that's very, very important in today's world, because the world is changing dramatically, and part of your personal brand and the business brand has to change with it. Because what worked yesterday might not necessarily work today or tomorrow.
Another point to consider with Richard Branson in the Virgin brand is to run your business with your values in mind. You know, your values really support your purpose and your mission every day. So the question you're gonna ask is, what do you get out of bed every morning? You know, and purpose is everything now, specifically, after 18 months of COVID. This has become even more at the top of my mind for most people because it's not just a job anymore, or just Making money or just paying the bills. It's, it's something that is beyond that. And it's like, okay, life is short. Okay, so what do we do for the rest of our lives, that's going to get us to be excited on a daily basis. Richard Branson isn't a pillar me of living His purpose, you know. And that purpose, of course, incorporates fun, humour and a lot of emotion, when he chooses to use it. So definitely, that's something we can learn from him. And I suppose the big one on that also is don't take life too seriously.
And thirdly, what we can learn about him is be open, you know, and be open from the perspective of start sharing aspects of some of your private life, even if you're a private person because transparency actually creates trust. And in a world where trust, you know, has really gone down dramatically. It's really interesting business people and entrepreneurs are seen as more trusting from a community perspective, for instance, and politicians, definitely the media, and of course, the clergy, you know, religious organizations. So it's interesting that business people, you know, are seen as more trustworthy than a lot of the others. And, of course, Richard Branson, being an entrepreneur business person, this is a perfect opportunity, then to use his personal and business brand, for doing good in the community, you know, and leveraging that opportunity by being more transparent and open. And I think that vulnerability, as I mentioned earlier, creates a level of connection and relatedness that people are looking for. So even in our own businesses, the more you've got that moral courage to at least specifically is like that, the more you've increased your opportunities and stacked the odds in your favour, certainly from the perspective of attracting more business, and success.
Before we finish, I have a few messages for you. Remember to subscribe to the podcast on a platform that you are listening to. So every time we have a new episode, you will be notified if you'd like to suffer so please share it with friends, family and colleagues. You can also share it on your social media. You can follow me on Twitter at John underlined Michael on LinkedIn as John Michael and on Facebook As image Group International, I also asked you to write the show on Apple Podcasts. For this, you just need to click on the link on the episodes description. Last but not least, please email me directly. If you think I can help you in your personal branding journey. The email is in the description of the episode. I thank you again and look forward to seeing you next week wishing you abundance in all you do. Cheers.
Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass" Podcast is sponsored by Image Group International, a global team of practical, digitally savvy personal brand and image strategists, based in Australia, committed to maximizing your impact, influence and authority in the business world. To learn more and apply for your personal coaching, seminars and group workshops please visit imagegroup.com.au or call 1800 631 311.