PROFILE OF VIRGIN GROUP
This paper illustrates the development and growth of Virgin Group since its inception. It outlines the profile of its renowned CEO, Richard Branson, and the entrepreneurial skills that he manifested into the organization, which led to the realization of feted success across the globe. In addition, the paper analyzes the various marketing strategies that the CEO used in the process of transforming the organization from small scale enterprise to a multi-national corporation. The various organizational cultures that shape and define the activities of the enterprise are highlighted with emphasis being on the aggressiveness of the workforce. Finally, employees ways of motivation are highlighted, and the future trend of Virgin Group is also incorporated into this paper.
Virgin Group is one of the leading organizations in UK. The company provides a dizzying range of commodities and services throughout its numerous business units. Indeed, from a small business operation to a multi-national organization that operates across the world, Branson and the executive committee have undertaken realistic and effective transformation in the companys operations. Currently, the organization is involved in various operations including nightclubs, food and drinks services, record label, among others. With such immense operations, Branson has focused on planning as a core factor that necessitates smooth flow of operations across the organization (Jones, 2004). The company is undertaking strategies, either marketing or production, that will enable it to conquer the economy in the next three or four decades.
2.0 Richard Bransons Profile and Entrepreneurial Skills
Richard Branson is a renowned entrepreneur who initiated the operations of Virgin Group to a world class level. Born in 1950, he attended Stowe School where he incorporated a school magazine at the tender age of 16. Towards the end of 1970, Branson founded a retailer of mail order record known as Virgin. His entrepreneurial skills were manifested in every activity and operation he undertook and, two years later, he built a recording studio that was situated in Oxfordshire. With the signing of Sex Pistols, Virgin commemorated the greatest achievement that marked the start of the organizations success. He signed numerous household names to be included in the Rolling Stones, majorly from Culture Club, thereby enabling Virgin Music to be recognized as the best operating companies in the industry. Currently, the Virgin Group incorporates more than 200 companies across the globe, and its expansion has been attributed to the skills and dedication of one Richard Branson. The operations of the company include travel, mobile, tourism, health, finance, leisure, radio, broadband, TV, and Music festivals (Jaray, 2006).
Kitchen and Proctor (2001) posits that the success of Virgin Group has been achieved through dedication of its CEO and the managerial team. As a non-profit making organization, the focus is to harness entrepreneurial skills on its members in an attempt to realize strategic goals. Some of these skills that were fostered by Branson include Vision and leadership in the workplace, focus, and execution of services, persistence, and passion in doing chores, technical skills, and flexibility. In the case of vision and leadership, Branson has visualized where Virgin Group would be in the next few decades. In realizing the organizations vision, Branson ensured that the vision statement is clearly communicate to the employees, as they are the pillars for the companys success (Strauss, 2010). Secondly, the CEO ensured that his team was focused and executed its services at the required timeframe. The company made sure that customers satisfaction is realized, goals are attained at the right time, and motivation of employees is undertaken by the superiors. Thirdly, the success was realized due to passion and persistence that characterized the managerial team. Being led by hardworking and reliable CEO, the staff demonstrated their passion through accomplishing their tasks and, in turn, the management rewarded them for their activities. Fourth, the technical skills portrayed by the firm ensured the overall success of the enterprise. Though not the whole managerial team is technically skilled, the management needs to have a fervent foundation on technical skills in order to make well-versed decisions. Finally, flexibility denoted the success of Virgin Group. With the changes in the economic endowment, flexibility in the operations of the management ensures that it can undertake activities in diversified economic conditions.
3.0 Marketing Strategies
The combination of product, price, place, and promotion make up the marketing mix used in the marketing strategy for Virgin Group. Virgin Group provides innovative products and quality services at convenient locations for its customers. Virgin Group, because of its big size, has distribution channel that is very extensive. The organization, being a global company, resort to using direct distribution when it becomes impossible for the product to be sold in physical stores (Isik-Vanelli, 2004). Nonetheless, it at times uses indirect distribution in order to place the product at a convenient place for the customers. It uses middle men who are also called distributors, such as websites like Expedia where customers can get information about flights without necessarily going directly to Virgin Atlantic websites.
The products and services provided by the organization serve the customer needs and demands. The approach applied in marketing is monolithic branding, meaning that the organization has a family name which is followed by the actual range of products such as Virgin Mobile, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Trains (Hoskisson, 2008). The nature of its size makes many people to have trust and believe on its various products and services it offers. The logo on Virgin Group products has similar style and design, with red color being a common theme.
The pricing strategy implemented has the tendency of offering flexibility to its customers. Price varieties offered allow its customers to experience the feeling of affordable depending on their choice. Irrespective of the prices being expensive or cheaper than its competitors, customers buy their products and services because of the value they get for their money.
Advertising constitute a big part of promotion for the organization. It uses TV advertising campaigns in influencing customers to buy its products and services. This was the case in their 2011 thirty second piece where there were images and scenes exhibiting a sense of luxury, glamour, and erudition. In youtube videos, Richard Branson is seen in several of them trying to explore parts of the organization. His presence on such videos conveys a message to the customers that the organization is very personal and caring.
4.0 Organizational Culture
In most of the organizations across the globe, diversity and culture have shaped the operations of the organizations, and virgin Group is no exception. The success of Virgin Group is also attributed to their modern culture of undertaking operations. Its success is being driven by peoples aggressiveness, orientation, risk taking, and innovative culture. In the case of aggressiveness culture of employees, the organization ensures that its performance is superior to the operations of other rival companies in the organization and markets the brand under the name of Virgins. Aggressiveness implies the degree in which the workforce is characterized by competitiveness and aggressive nature rather than cooperating with rival companies. The aggressiveness was demonstrated by the employees of Virgin Blue, which is an airline of Australia, when it expanded its operations to New Zealand, United States and, finally, to South Africa. Its main objective was to realize its strategic goal and competitiveness in the economy. In addition, Virgin Active, one of the health club chains of Virgin Group, was rescued in South Africa after it had undergone a financial crisis, and, currently, South Africa has more than 100 health clubs (Adair, 2007).
Employees orientation is another culture demonstrated by Virgin Group in its operation. By employee orientation it means the degree in which the decisions of the management are put in practice in order to effect the operation of the employees. One of the key strategies that Richard Branson was using was employee motivation where he emphasized on the need to have cordial relationship with the workforce in order to realize success. The management set up parties that ensured there was bonding in all levels of employees in the organization. Such events ensured that employees build cordial relationship with each other; thereby, sharing opinions that are relevant to the competitiveness of the organization (Henry, 2008). Finally, risk taking and innovative culture ensures that employees are allowed to take certain level of risks and to be creative when undertaking their activities. With the change in economic activities, creativity and innovativeness is a key to success for every organization. In acquisition and merging process, Virgin Group ensures that only the like-minded organizations, which will steer up the operations of the company, are incorporated into the organization.
5.0 Employees Motivation
According to Curlee and Gordon (2010), the success of the organization is not only been achieved through stringent activities and marketing strategies, but through motivating employees in the workplace. The management understands the diversified needs of its employees. Each employee is characterized by unique needs from other employee, thus, when the management understand the need for each employee, it will motivate the workforce with ease (Nelson and Campbell, 2007). Some of the strategies that Virgin Group deployed in harnessing employees motivation included assigning proper tasks to employees. The human Resource management has ensured that the job is assigned to the right employee at the right place in order to achieve comfortability when performing their operations. In addition, Branson ensured that the employees appraised as this is the best way of rewarding employees performance. However, appraisal should only be done when the management ahs ascertained the needs of various employees in the organization. In the case where employee had expected to be rewarded immensely but in the long run, he/she does not achieve it, the employee may lose his/her motivation in the workplace (Robbins, 2009). As such, Virgin Group ensured that all the employees were provided with relevant and adequate information on the reward process in order to satisfy them. Finally, the CEO allowed lower-level employees to set their goals that they may perceive to be attainable. Employees are motivated when they realize that they are moving towards achieving the set goals and objective sin the organization.
The success of Virgin Group has been attributed to the skillful nature of Richard Branson. Since the foundation of the company, the organization is currently operating in more than 31 countries, and its vision and mission statement has enabled the management to realize competitive advantage over its rival companies. The CEO enacted marketing strategies that facilitated the development of new markets, necessitated product development, and attracted new customers into the organization. With diversified organizational culture and varied employees needs, the management, with the help of Branson, has instituted measures to support and reward its employees based on their performances and needs. It is believed that, in the next 3 decades, Virgin Group will be the leading non-profit making organization in the world.
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