Innovative Experiences: 3 Tips To Learn From Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson has changed the way business is done. With each new market launch and product promotion, he's made quite the splash. From dressing up as a bride to launch Virgin Brides or as a Zulu warrior for Virgin Atlantic, Branson has always thought outside-of-the-box to disrupt industries and has had fun while doing so.
After receiving his Hollywood Star at the Walk of Fame, he announced his latest venture, Virgin Fest, a multi-experiential music festival centered on innovation including virtual reality domes, immersive silent discos, and an app that lives 365 days of the year, “Even on a cold winter night, concert-goers can experience Virgin Fest” explains co-founder Jason Felts. With millennials prioritizing experiences over material goods, this new venture aligns with how this next generation spends their time and money.
Music festivals are all about surprising and delighting attendees, so I sat down with Branson to hear his top tips on creating innovative experiences that keep customers coming back for more.
Do things differently
The Virgin brand is centered on providing that wow factor. It’s no surprise that with each business, Branson changes the game, “We reinvent any business we go into. We pull out a blank sheet of paper and just like an artist get out our crayons to create something that is innovatively different.” Branson believes in intentionally disrupting the status quo, “Unless you’re going to come up with innovative, exciting experiences in anything new that you do, there’s no point in doing it. If you’re copying something that has been done before, you might as well stay at home.”
Takeaway: Stand out in a crowded space. This is integral in building a brand and creating buzz. Have a growth mindset for how you’ll deliver your product to market. Create an experience for your customers that will separate you from the rest.
Build a team that loves what they do
Branson loves to build teams that find purpose and joy in their work with a focus on the customer. Whether it’s within the financial markets or music festivals, Branson knows that magic comes from employee happiness, “No matter what sector you’re in, what matters is that a company is all about its people and that they're proud of what they’re doing and making a difference.” Employees are then committed and excited to build a better product and will go to the next level for both the brand and consumer.
Takeaway: Celebrated teamwork and an inclusive culture creates memorable moments and fosters collaboration. When employees feel empowered to ideate and go above and beyond is when innovation takes shape.
Set the bar high
Produce events that have a positive global impact. Branson passionately explains, “A brands reputation is all that it has. For companies today it is critical that every company has their house in order.” This comes to life by focusing on initiatives that benefit larger humanitarian goals. With experiences these can include a focus on sustainability at large scale events, i.e. eliminating plastic straws or having water refill stations or using solar power. By instilling best practices for events and attendees, you can deliver experiences that educate and inspire.
Takeaway: Now is the time to think about larger global issues when launching an experience. Ask yourself how can you limit your global footprint or promote diversity and inclusion. By educating your audience while they’re immersed in experiences, you can have an impact beyond just the event day.
With over fifty years of making business fun and adventurous, Branson has learned how to create loyal audiences and incredible brand affinity. These tips and takeaways will be beneficial for entrepreneurs and employees alike to have an innovative mindset in delivering exceptional experiences.