Transfer Pricing Associates

Virgin Brand Expansion

post Tuesday October 30, 2012


The brand Virgin, is synonymous with Sir Richard Branson. When we think of Virgin brand we think of Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Atlantic , Virgin Megastores, Virgin Radio, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Galactic and many other subsidiaries or related entities. The once 16 year-old high school drop out started off with his own magazine, Student, about 41 years ago and is now responsible for the brand that has established over 400 companies and is worth over $5 billion.

Approaching his mid 60’s does not seem to be slowing him down. Mr. Branson’s relentless quest to expand the Virgin brand involves multiple projects ranging from opening new radio stations and expansion into emerging economies, to humanitarian not for profit activities and commercial flights into space. Virgin focuses on five core sectors; transport, communications, entertainment, money and health. Clearly the expansion of Virgin’s brand and products keeps Sir Richard Branson and his company very busy.

The Virgin brand evokes emotions of youthfulness and fun, yet while approaching retirement age, its founder admits that it may be time for his next of kin to become the face of the Virgin name. Mr. Branson acknowledges the need for others in the inner circles of Virgin to step up and lead the company forward through innovation and the creation of new ideas.

When examining the Virgin brand,  it appears to be quite tricky to accurately value the brand name. It is not featured in the rankings of top 100 global brands from Interbrand or Millward Brown Optimor, yet according to Mr. Branson, it appears to have great commercial power. He also describes it as “a leading branded venture capital organisation” that focuses on the long term value of its companies. In spite of being involved in a wide variety of sectors, Virgin continues to differentiate themselves by taking a customer friendly approach and striving to be unique and innovative.

Virgin’s structure is comparable to that of a private equity firm, where its strategic decisions are taken by the Investment Advisory Committee. Its proposals are scrutinized by Virgin Investments SA who then proceeds by making recommendations to the trustees. Following the reccomendations, the trustees make final decisions (with the input of Mr.Branson). They also receive substantial amounts of income from the licensing of the Virgin name.

Regardless of their exclusion from various lists of most valuable and recognizable brand names, the Virgin Group shows no sign of slowing down their expansion into all the different sectors.


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