A decade ago I had to ask Richard Branson a delicate question.
What would happen to the Virgin brand if he died?
At the time, I was presenting a show about the media on a radio station, and Branson was in town to spruik a new Virgin Airlines route.
I couched the question as gently as I could. Given his record of risk-taking publicity stunts – including being rescued from the Atlantic from a ditched hot air balloon – was there, erm, a contingency plan for the brand he personifies?
“If I snuff it, I guess they’ll have to spend more on marketing,” was his cheerful reply.
Which is probably true. It’s certainly the case that Branson has for many years been a publicity machine for Virgin which has delivered media coverage for Virgin ventures that could never be bought.
Branson in a tank. Branson breaking a world record. Branson in
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