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The quadrants in practice

The quadrants in practice
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This short presentation looks at the quadrants in practise, and we’re taking as our example Virgin. Now, Virgin’s purpose has always been something like to change the game. It’s not always stated that explicitly. And in fact, very recently, it’s restated its purpose as to change business for good. But there’s always been an element of, whatever the game is, let’s change it. Let’s change the rules. And the game has got that element of fun that is so important to the Virgin brand. So how has that played out across the four quadrants? Well in the alpha quadrant, the offer has expanded massively since Virgin started, but usually with some kind of game-changing aim. So the offer started with records.
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Tubular Bells was an early, successful Virgin Record. And this was game changing because it was one song– one piece across the whole album, very unusual in the 1970s. Virgin Atlantic took air travel and changed the game into entertainment, not transport but entertainment at 35,000 feet. Virgin Money introduced the idea of the offset mortgage form Australia into Britain, and so on. All of these were game changing.
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And the way that Virgin has done that through capability is by investing in companies with the technical skills. So it’s bought in technical skills, essentially, from Singapore Airlines for Virgin Atlantic– actually, now, Delta is the airline behind Virgin Atlantic– Stagecoach for Virgin Trains, Telewest for Virgin Media, and so on. So the capabilities, the technical capabilities, come from another company that usually licences the Virgin brand or goes into some kind of joint venture with Virgin. But the attitude comes from Virgin.
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Up in the presence quadrant, Virgin’s presence in the world has been very deliberately constructed over time, with Richard Branson as the face of the brand; bold, in-your-face communication always; constantly reinforced use of the colour red; and often advertising the knocks that humorously criticises the dominant competitor. And then finally, in the culture quadrant, what unites a very diverse group is a very, very strong company culture. Originally there used to be a party every year for all the employees in the group, given by Richard Branson. Now, he runs an extra day at the V Festival, the music festival just for employees– again to strengthen this strong Virgin culture that is all about changing the game.

This slideshow shows how the quadrant model could work for one famous brand, Virgin. Think how you’d use it for other brand-led businesses you know.

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