Don't be afraid to diversify
- Oct 01, 2010
You shouldn't be afraid to diversify if you are in a position to do so, especially because nothing ever stays exactly the same.
The rise of the digital world is a good example of that. It is changing everything very quickly, obviously. Most of our marketing teams are thinking digital before they are thinking magazines, newspapers or mainline television. It is getting more and more important everyday.
Sadly - although I do actually like to get my daily newspaper - I think the writing is on the wall for the print versions of newspapers. I will most likely get them in tablet form in the future I imagine. Whole industries can disappear very quickly.
It is easy to think there will be record shops forever if you are in the record shop business. We clung on too long, it cost us quite a lot of money. We saw the writing was on the wall but we just didn't want to lose the Virgin brand on the high street.
The important thing is just because you are in a business that is doing well, there are some businesses that can disappear very quickly. In the early days of Virgin I got enormous criticism for not just investing in one area. What's somebody in the record business doing opening an airline? What's somebody in the airline business doing opening a train company? Every single time the press would talk about stretching the brand too far and so on.
But if we hadn't moved on we would have been dead as a business, because music retailing was our principle business. So if you are in a business that could have the carpet pulled under you, start diversifying.