Virgin - one of the most respected brands in Britain - is now becoming the first global brand name of the 21st century. We are involved in planes, trains, finance, soft drinks, music, mobile phones, holidays, cars, wines, publishing, bridal wear - the lot! What tie all these businesses together are the values of our brand and the attitude of our people. We have created over 200 companies worldwide, employing over 25,000 people. Our total revenues around the world in 2002 exceeded Â£4 billion (US$7.2 billion).
We believe in making a difference. In our customers' eyes, Virgin stands for value for money, quality, innovation, fun and a sense of competitive challenge. We deliver a quality service by empowering our employees and we facilitate and monitor customer feedback to continually improve the customer's experience through innovation.
We look for opportunities where we can offer something better, fresher and more valuable, and we seize them. We often move into areas where the customer has traditionally received a poor deal, and where the competition is complacent. And with our growing e-commerce activities, we also look to deliver 'old' products and services in new ways. We are pro-active and quick to act, often leaving bigger and more cumbersome organizations in our wake.
When we start a new venture, we base it on hard research and analysis. Typically, we review the industry and put ourselves in the customer's shoes to see what could make it better. We ask fundamental questions: is this an opportunity for restructuring a market and creating competitive advantage? What are the competitors doing? Is the customer confused or badly served? Is this an opportunity for building the Virgin brand? Can we add value? Will it interact with our other businesses? Is there an appropriate trade-off between risk and reward?
We are also able to draw on talented people from throughout the group. New ventures are often steered by people seconded from other parts of Virgin, who bring with them the trademark management style, skills and experience. We frequently create partnerships with others to combine skills, knowledge, market presence and so on. Contrary to what some people may think, our constantly expanding and eclectic empire is neither random nor reckless. Each successive venture demonstrates our skill in picking the right market and the right opportunity.
Once a Virgin company is up and running, several factors contribute to making it a success. The power of the Virgin name; Richard Branson's personal reputation; our unrivalled network of friends, contacts and partners; the Virgin management style; the way talent is empowered to flourish within the group. To some traditionalists, these may not seem hard headed enough. To them, the fact that Virgin has minimal management layers, no bureaucracy, a tiny board and no massive global HQ is an anathema.
Our companies are part of a family rather than a hierarchy. They are empowered to run their own affairs, yet other companies help one another, and solutions to problems come from all kinds of sources. In a sense we are a community, with shared ideas, values, interests and goals. The proof of our success is real and tangible.
Exploring the activities of our companies through this web site demonstrates that success, and that it is not about having a strong business promise, it is about keeping it!
South Africa - Bhubezi Community Health Center (HIV, Malaria & TB)
The US Government, Virgin Unite, Anglo Coal and the Ndlovu Medical Centre have joined forces in a public-private partnership to build a community health centre adjacent to the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The vision is to mitigate the effect of HIV/AIDS, which is at pandemic proportions in South Africa, and prevent the devastating impact of TB and Malaria on the community. Through this co-investment scheme, partners are pouring a collective R50 million into creating a 'one-stop health care centre' that will bring free treatment to the community for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. It will bring doctors, x-ray, pharmacy and laboratory services right into the community and will work together with and in support of neighboring Government clinics. The clinic was launched on 27 October 2006 with Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Unite, the US Ambassador to SA Eric Bost, the CEO of Anglo Coal Ben Magara, and the executive Mayor of Bushbuckridge Councillor Milton Morema.
To learn more about the clinic click here to download the press release [.pdf - 28kb]
Nigeria - Heaven's Angels (Malaria)
Through Heaven's Angels we aim to help stop 10,000 people dying needlessly every day in Sub-Saharan Africa, from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB. It's is not just about providing medicine - it's about physically getting it to those who need it most. Thousands of people live miles away from medical care and are not easy to reach. Motorcycles are proven to be one of the best methods of delivery and through funds raised by Heaven's Angels we'll be employing local health workers in remote areas to deliver medication, materials and advice to rural communities. The program will initially target Malaria in pilot sites in Nigeria.