Using fun to raise your profile

When I started Virgin Records we didn’t have a big budget to spend on PR so we had to think creatively to build our brand and raise our profile.

Richard Branson Virgin Records Sex Pistols

Sir Freddie Laker taught me the value of leading from the front and being happy to use myself as the face of the brand – it has served us very well over the years.

A lot of the outlandish things we have ended up doing have been great fun and made many people smile.

I try not to take myself too seriously and try and instil a culture of adventure and fun in the Virgin brand. The next time you’re really worrying about something at work, ask yourself if you will still be worried about it in a year’s time. If the answer is no, let it go.

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I’m happy to poke fun at myself and get involved - whether it’s working up a sweat to launch Virgin Sport  events or swinging into a Virgin Voyages keel laying ceremony by crane.

We’ve always tried to think big but be canny with our budget. When we were starting Virgin Atlantic many years before we could only afford one billboard; we put it up and told the press that it was going to be a massive nationwide media campaign. The reporters turned out in force and wrote all about the billboard - enough so that we never had to launch the massive campaign at all!

Richard Branson running Virgin Sport Hackney Festival of Fitness

We’ve also enjoyed more outlandish adventures, such as sailing down the Thames on Silver Jubilee Day in 1977 to launch the Sex Pistols’ new single God Save the Queen. An infamous arrest and an even more infamous chart scandal later, and we had a hit that reinvigorated Virgin Records.

If you love what you’re doing then you’ll have great fun doing it. I always believe in taking the chance and saying yes – life is a lot more fun that way!

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