When I started out in business, my mentor Freddie Laker gave me some incredibly useful advice. He told me: “You are going to have to get out there and sell yourself. Make a fool of yourself – whatever it takes. Make sure you appear on the front page and not the back pages.” Since that day, I’ve lived very openly, giving people a window into both my business and personal lives – and doing things to get noticed.
The public came with me on my many ballooning adventures; was privy to the goings-on of our legal battle against BA’s Dirty Tricks campaign; has seen my children grow up; and now keep up-to-date with my day-to-day life through my blog and social media channels. I’m an open book and I love sharing.
So, when I was tasked with the #challengerichard to tell an untold story, I had to think long and hard. In fact, I had to go back to the very beginning… Check out The Times clipping below.
Under the Births column, sixth par down, you’ll notice:
BRANSON. – On July 18, 1950 at Stonefield Nursing Home, Blackhealth, S.E.3, to Eve (nee Huntley Flindt), and TED BRANSON, of Easteds, Shamley Green, Surrey – a son.
It appears I wasn’t named straight away!
So there you have it – my first newspaper appearance wasn’t for doing something outrageous for the Virgin brand, it was for being born!
As you can see, I had to really search through the archives to recount a story that I’ve not shared before. I like being open, and will continue to wear my heart on my sleeve. There’s so much that we can gain from honest communication – particularly in business. A great brand or leader should always foster transparency and always tell the truth.