How to Get Press Like Richard Branson | Ep. #350

In Episode #350, Eric and Neil discuss how to get press like Richard Branson. Tune in to hear about Richard Branson’s unreal PR stunts that put Virgin company on the map! You’ll also find out why standing out and being bold is just what you need to do to make yourself memorable!

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:27 – Today’s topic: How to Get Press Like Richard Branson
  • 00:40 – Neil learned about how Richard Branson created Virgin during his speaking engagement at VTEX as an opening speaker for Richard Branson
    • 01:28 – Richard did a crazy PR stunt when Virgin was just starting and didn’t have enough capital
    • 01:44 – Richard used hot air balloons with their name on it so people would be exposed to the brand
    • 01:56 – When the London Eye couldn’t be lifted from the ground, Richard had a blimp that flew over London Eye with the message “BA Can’t Get It Up”
    • 02:28 – Richard went overboard for his company to grow at a rapid pace
  • 02:38 – Richard lives his life how he wants it
  • 03:06 – You have to do something remarkable to be memorable
  • 03:45 – One thing to learn from Richard Branson is to create crazy and drastic stuff, especially when you’re just starting
  • 04:06 – Don’t do something that everyone else is doing
  • 04:12 – That’s it for today’s episode!

3 Key Points:

  1. Richard Branson is known for his crazy, but effective PR stunts.
  2. When you’re just starting, do something memorable and remarkable.
  3. Stand out by being YOU.

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Full Transcript of The Episode

Speaker 1: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the guile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

Neil Patel: I'm Neil Patel.

Eric Siu: Today, we're going to talk about how to get press like Richard Branson. So, Neil, you were actually just at a conference speaking before Richard Branson came on stage. I mean, what are your thoughts around this?

Neil Patel: Yeah, so, what was interesting is I learned on how he created Virgin Atlantic or the Virgin plane company. It was all about ... he wanted to go to the Virgin Islands to see his girlfriend at the time. American Airlines or someone like that canceled the flight. He ended up renting a plane or chartering a plane. He had a sign saying like, "Trip to the Virgin Islands costs $X." He filled up the plane. Someone on the plane ended up saying, "Hey, you know what? This could actually be a airline company if you just had a airline attendant or a stewardess or a flight attendant," whatever you want to end up calling it.
From there, he ended up creating a plane company. He was breaking down how when they first started that Virgin didn't have as much money as the competitors. So, what he ended up doing to really grow was he would do crazy PR stunts. One thing he was discussing was he did a hot air balloon over the Atlantic. Then as they did that ... and they were like the first [inaudible 00:01:38]. Then they did a hot air balloon over Pacific. Then they did a hot air balloon over the world. These hot air balloons had his name on there ... created a ton of press.
So, he does crazy things. One time there was the Eye of London. I think that's what Ferris wheel is called. It fell down, or it was down on the ground. The press was covering it. Within a few hours, they came up with the idea to have a blimp float over it. The blimp said, "VA can't get it up. Virgin Atlantic," or something like that. So, he's really aggressive. He even said some of his PR tactics were a bit racy at the beginning, but that's really what helped blow up his company. Doing that edgy stuff that other people aren't willing to do.
Especially when your company's new, even though you're like, "Hey, this is pushing the boundaries," sometimes you really have to do that to grow at a rapid pace. That's how he succeeded especially early on.

Eric Siu: I was just looking through a couple of his other PR stunts that he's done in the past and ... I mean, if you think about his life, that whole entire thing is just ... I mean, he lives life as how he wants it. I think that and itself is remarkable. A lot of it is basically a nice, new story. Right here, he drove a tank down 5th Avenue in New York City. This is when he was launching Virgin Cola in 1998. He pretended to blow up the Coca-Cola sign. Even though that company failed, that's something that's pretty memorable. It's remarkable. At the end of the day you think about what Seth Godin says. He says, "You have to be remarkable at the end of the day."
How do you do something remarkable? Well, people talk about it. The other one I'm looking at right here, and I can go down the list, but I'm not going to. He jumped off the roof of a hotel casino. So, imagine you're a billionaire. You own all these companies and you're risking basically your livelihood jumping out of ... bungee jumping off hotels, driving tanks. Maybe that doesn't risk your livelihood as much, but you get what I mean.

Neil Patel: I want to drive a tank. That sounds fun.

Eric Siu: Well, I think the hot air balloon thing, he almost died, right?

Neil Patel: Yeah. They said they had issues with that. I don't know if he almost died, but they have issues.

Eric Siu: I think I remember reading something about how he almost died, but you want to add anything else?

Neil Patel: No, that's pretty much it. In essence the thing to learn from him is, do crazy, drastic stuff, because that is what creates press, especially when you're early on. It's usually the cheapest form to get press as well. If you try doing the basic stuff that all the other big companies are doing, you're going to be fighting for air time. Usually, the larger ones are going to get air time due to the fact that they have more money and a bigger brand.

Eric Siu: I think I read a quote today. People are like, "If you're doing the same thing that everybody else is doing, no wonder you're the same as everybody else." So, I think that's a good quote that fits in well with this. That's it for today and we'll see you tomorrow.

Speaker 1: This session of Marketing School has come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing strategies and tactics to help you find the success you've always dreamed of. Don't forget to rate and review so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow right here on Marketing School.

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