Hot on the blistered heels of the Virgin London Marathon, Virgin is launching its first ever Social Marathon on Monday April 18th 2011.
While the sporty types will be resting their worn out feet after their own Virgin London Marathon achievements on the 17th, the webby types will be exercising their wits and fingers all day on the 18th.
The Virgin Social Marathon will see the social media teams from every UK Virgin company, from Virgin Active to Virgin Wines, all Tweeting and Facebooking together from the same room for one day only. We will set up camp at Our House the private members club from Virgin Media in Soho where full use will be made of the 100Mb broadband the Virgin Media team have provided. This will be the first time all of the UK Virgin companies will have worked from the same space - fulfilling an ambition for each of the teams who all work from different parts of the country.
During the Social Marathon we will also put the call out for people to suggest new ideas for the brand. Encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit, Virgin will offer fans and followers the chance to suggest ideas for new businesses or ideas to improve the current Virgin businesses. Off-the-wall, out-of-this-world ideas that may not be entirely feasible will be as equally encouraged as simple yet brilliant ideas that might enhance current Virgin products and services.
The Social Marathon is (probably) an equivalent exercise in endurance as the London Marathon, so seeing as its for most of the working day rather than just a few hours we will need an essential tea break in order to keep going. Therefore at around 4pm well be attempting a tea break trend on Twitter to see if we can get as many people sharing a nice cuppa as possible. Tea is Richard Bransons favourite drink so its in his honour the man who never seems to take a break! We will even offer the chance for anyone local to Soho to tweet their way in to Virgin Medias Our House and join us for tea.
If you're further afield than London, don't worry because we also plan to giveaway with lots of free stuff throughout the Social Marathon simply for joining in conversation with us. But there will be one ultimate Virgin lifestyle prize which will be randomly awarded. This top prize includes a trip to New York courtesy of Virgin Atlantic with a stay at The London - a 5 star hotel courtesy of Virgin Holidays, a case of Virgin Wines, Virgin Active health club membership, 100Mb Virgin Media broadband, a first class Virgin Trains pass, a Virgin Balloon flight, a drive a supercar Virgin Experience Day, a shelf load of Virgin Books and even a very exclusive place to run the Virgin London Marthon 2012 which Virgin Money are giving away a whole two weeks before the public ballot opens.
People are usually pretty good at telling us what they both like and dislike about Virgin so we just want to say thank you to everyone who has already hooked up with us on our social channels, whether it's been to raise an issue, ask a question or just to have a chat. The Social Marathon is a day is devoted to those people and to let everyone else know that we're switched on and ready to talk. Not just on Social Marathon day but every day - this is a good chance for us to let everyone know about all of the different Virgin social channels.
None of us are going to stand up and say that we're social media experts' - that'd be asking for a fall. We're all learning about social and appreciate that by its nature it's about community and, when working together, an engaged crowd consisting of Virgin teams along with fans and followers means a fantastic hotch potch of knowledge, ideas and expertise. Virgin works best when we join forces - we're simply another small crowd working under the Virgin banner and just part of the community ourselves. The Social Marathon is about sharing where we are right now and hopefully taking a step forwards in galvanising our efforts and keeping social at the forefront of our brand.
Theres a fantasy, sometimes an expectancy, that all of the different Virgin companies work from one big, red-painted office with Richard Branson sat on the top floor as much as wed love that, sadly it isnt the case. Even though it shouldnt matter to each other or our customers where we are geographically, it does make things more engaging for everyone if were all based in one location.
The Virgin Social Marathon allows us to get the most of out each other without any of the normal corporate and geographical splits. We all do this every day anyway but why not make it physically social for a change? Virgin is not a group of companies to get complacent about digital, marketing, PR or customer service and we will always look to do things a bit differently and a bit better. We want to be better at social and learn from each other and our customers so this is a simple way of getting us all out of our normal environment and to concentrate on nothing else but social to listen without distraction and be engaged.
See you online!
The UK Virgin Social Marathon will run from approximately 11am 7pm on Monday 18 April 2011.
Follow twitter.com/virgin or like facebook.com/virgin for more announcements and information.