From fast trains to the space race: Present and future of the Virgin brand
Given its pervasive presence in everyday life, you would have to be living in a cave not to be familiar with the distinctive Virgin brand. It’s also unlikely that you haven’t been acquainted with the face of its charismatic CEO Sir Richard Branson. But what is the story of the Virgin Group, and what are its main branches today?
The Virgin group as a whole was officially founded back in 1989 by Branson and fellow entrepreneur Nik Powell, though the brand predates this by two decades with the establishment of Virgin records in 1972. The name was actually conceived because the pair were completely new to this kind of venture, but this didn’t stop the British tycoon from adding numerous strings to his bow, notably Virgin Holidays in 1985. While both of these subsidiaries have retained their influence, others, such as Virgin Megastores, Virgin Drinks and Virgin Cinemas – all of which were created in the 90s to initial success – were eventually sold off to be overtaken by the many other Virgin branches. Even the popular V Fest staged its last lineup in 2018 after Branson announced the company would no longer be sponsoring the event. But despite this, Virgin’s influence continues to grow exponentially in five principal sectors.
Music and entertainment
When it comes to Leisure, Virgin has its customers covered, with Virgin Experience Days feeding off the coupon market and providing special experiences in the place of gifts. Virgin Records is still going strong nearly 50 years later, as is Virgin games, established in 2003.
Travel and leisure
Virgin Trains provide one of the key rail services throughout the UK, while American transportation technology offshoot Virgin Hyperloop are working to develop revolutionary high-speed travel. Virgin Atlantic remains a giant of the sky for those travelling further afield while Virgin Galactic promises to take people into space in the near future.
Telecoms and media
Sky’s biggest media rival come in the form of Virgin Media, who provide telecommunications, fibreoptic broadband and cable services. On top of this, Branson owns a whole network service provider, Virgin Mobile, which was founded back in 1999.
Virgin Money provides banking in Australia, South Africa and the UK, however they also run not-for-profit organisation Virgin Money Giving, who help people to run charity fundraisers.
Health and wellness
Virgin has even branched out into wellbeing, with Virgin Active owning a chain of health clubs throughout the world and Virgin Sports promoting fitness challenges and festivals. In addition, Virgin Care provides private services to the NHS.
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