Anyone who has followed the growth of the Virgin Group will have noticed a few constant features as we have expanded into diverse new sectors and markets. Whether it is telecoms, aviation, health and wellness or finance, we always focus upon key brand values like excellent customer service and innovation. We also usually include another, on the surface less important, aspect: fancy dress!
Whether it’s James Bond or a sumo wrestler, Ferris Bueller or Che Guevara, I’m always willing to throw on a costume. One reason for this is simply because I enjoy making people smile. But it also has a serious business value. I learned from Sir Freddie Laker the value of a leader putting themselves forward as the face of their company in order to get people’s attention. One sure way to do this is by dressing up and having a good time.
It isn’t just business launches when I choose to dress up though. There is rarely a week that goes by on Necker when we don’t have a fancy dress party. It helps people relax, makes them laugh and gets people talking and making connection. Plus I love when a great idea gets suggested by a guy dressed as a giant parrot, or I get a business pitch from a lady dressed as a mermaid!
Some people may expect my outfits to get more respectable now I have reached 65, but I can assure you they will be as outlandish as ever. However, I’m pleased to see both my son Sam and nephew Noah continuing a fine tradition. Noah decided to give me a run for my money by wearing a female cabin crew uniform to celebrate his stag party (I suspect his friends may have had something to do with it too!)
Meanwhile, Sam wore a kilt the other night to Joan's birthday dinner. I asked him: “What is worn under your kilt?” His response? “Nothing's worn under my kilt. Everything is in working order!”
What has been your best fancy dress outfit? I’d love to see them, share them on social and I promise not to laugh too much at the photos!