Below is a list of all the references I have used throughout the blog, including all images used so far:

1970s. (2015). Retrieved from


Australian aviation. (2011, February 23). Retrieved from


BBC. (2014, November 13). Virgin money prices shares at 283p. BBC Business. BBC News. Retrieved from


BBC. (2015, June 1). Malaysia airlines ‘technically bankrupt’. BBC Business. BBC News. Retrieved from


Bahcekapili, C., & Cetin, B. (2015). The Impacts of Forced Migration on Regional Economies: The case of Syrian Refugees in Turkey.International Journal of Business and Social Science. Retrieved from


Brady, J. (2012, April 17). Virgin Atlantic airways. Retrieved from


Branson, R. (2007). Losing my virginity. Virgin Books. Retrieved from


Branson, R. (2015). The Sun [Newspaper]. Retrieved from


Branson, R. (n.d.). Opportunity missed. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Chun, R. (2005). Corporate reputation: Meaning and measurement.International Journal of Management Reviews, 7(2), 91–109.


Conboye, J. (2015, November 5). Look to the software to ease hiring problems. Financial Times. Retrieved from


Cosack, S., Guthridge, M., & Lawson, E. (2015). Retaining key employees in times of change. McKinsey&Company. Retrieved from


Demography of Syrian Refugees in Turkey. (2015, January 6). [Bar Graph]. UNHCR. Retrieved from


Edmundson design. (2015). How important is colour in your brand [Colour Wheel]. Retrieved from


Gadhia, J.-A. (2015, March 5). Virgin money group 2014 results. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Goodman, K. (2014, November 14). The evolution of the virgin logo. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Hayman, M., & Giles, N. (2015). Mission: How the best in business break through. Google Books. Penguin UK. Retrieved from

Jesus, P. (2015). Book. Flickr – Photo Sharing! Retrieved from

Kets De Vries, M. (1996). Leaders who make a difference. European Management Journal, 14(5), 486–493.


Kumar, R. V. (2006). Colour, colour everywhere…. In marketing too.Journal of Indian Managemen. Retrieved from…._In_Marketing_Too


Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics. Human Relations, 1(1), 41–5.


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MarketingMag. (2012, November 30). From virgin blue to virgin Australia – the rebrand – marketing magazine. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Marketing Strategy. (2015, July 29). [Graph]. Retrieved from


Michie, J., & Llewellyn, D. T. (2010). Converting failed financial institutions into mutual Organisations. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1(1), 146–170.


Mintzberg, H. (1990). The design school: Reconsidering the basic premises of strategic management. Strategic Management Journal,11(3), 171–195.


Morse, A. (2012). The Creation and Sale of Northern Rock plc. London: National Audit Office. Retrieved from


Morton, J. (2010). Why color matters. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Porter, M. E. (2008). The Five competitive forces that shape strategy.Harvard Business Review, 25–40. Retrieved from


Proctor, K. (2015, September 15). Syria’s refugees are a golden opportunity for Europe. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Renner, M. (2014). How to measure and manage reputation. Pharma Marketing Journal.

Richard Branson: What to do when things go wrong. (2014). Retrieved from


Robinson, J. (2015, November 17). Why People Change Jobs [Pie Chart]. Retrieved from


Sekkarie, S., & Calì, M. (2015, September 16). Much ado about nothing? The economic impact of refugee ‘invasions’. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Sheahan, M., Cremer, A., & Chambers, M. (2016). VW to freeze promotions due to emissions scandal: Report. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Smets, M., Morris, T., & Harvey, W. S. (2013). Corporate reputation: Definitions and dimensions. Retrieved 21 November 2015, from


Smets, M., Morris, T., & Harvey, W. S. (2013, July 22). Corporate reputation: Definitions and dimensions. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from

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Virgin crisis management. (2014, November 5). [Table]. Brand & Consumer. Lansons. Retrieved from


Virgin money holdings (UK) plc share price | VM. | share price. (2015, October 22). Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


Wagner, M. C., Carpio, D., & Ximena. (2015). The impact of Syrians refugees on the Turkish labor market. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series, No. 7402. Retrieved from


Wolff, G. B. (2014, March 7). Germany’s handling of immigration will shape the future of Europe. Retrieved 22 November 2015, from


‘Your brand name is only as good as your reputation.’ Richard Branson. (2013). Trackur. Retrieved from


Zeiger, S. (2013). Effects of a lack of ethics on a business environment.Small Business Chron. Retrieved from


What have I gained from this experience?

Having had no business knowledge prior to this module, and a background lacking in essay writing, I have been surprisingly proud of the blog that I have produced.The process of writing a blog has become more efficient with each week, and I have learnt how to translate my ideas to paper in a concise manner. Applying each lecture specifically to Virgin has allowed me to follow a theme and given structure to my blog, whilst helping me to understand the theories and concepts learnt throughout the course deeper.

I have found many different topics in this module interesting, but particularly the Sales, Marketing and planning lecture. I have always been on the receiving end of marketing schemes, and I had never fully appreciated the amount of time, money and thinking that goes behind each advert and publicity stunt. Moreover, the extensive research behind the emotions associated with colours in logo’s is very thought-provoking, and I was able to apply this knowledge to another part of this course, when creating the logo for my app.

In parallel to this blog I have been working on a Dragon’s Den style process, where my group produced an app. I decided it was important to do research on the competition of our app. Having had a few email exchanges with a particular app I actually managed to unintentionally impress one CEO enough for him to offer me an internship with them this summer. This definitely would not have occurred without the business acumen I have gained from taking this module, and so I can come out of this module very positively.

How does the weighting of the reputation dimensions affect the success of a business?

Reputation is seen as the “Accumulated impression that stakeholders form of the firm” (Chun, 2005).

So what are the aspects stakeholders are basing these views on?

According to a model created by Markus Renner “the reputation of any stakeholder group of any organisation can be captured by a maximum of nine reputation dimensions” (Renner, 2011):

  • Quality of Products and Services
  • Innovation
  • Business Performance
  • Ethical Business Practice
  • Transparency
  • Marketing and Sales Effectiveness
  • Management Quality
  • Employer Attractiveness
  • Social Responsibility

These dimensions are weighted differently for each company, and all contribute to an overall reputation. However there is often a leading dimension that influences the stakeholders impression the most. For example, the reputation of Virgin is based largely on the celebrity-like reputation of Richard Branson, which falls under ‘Management Quality’, and therefore what he does personally has large consequences on the reputation of Virgin (Renner, 2011). 

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 16.20.43
Figure 1: A table to show the top 7 benefits for a reputable business (‘Virgin crisis mangement’, 2014).

A great reputation can have huge benefits for a company, as seen by the table on the right.

Having read the news about the findings of part of MH370 on reunion island a few weeks ago, it made me think about Malaysian Airways’ (MA) reputation. Although reputation is deemed to be “generally stable and enduring rather than changing with each event or new piece of information” (Smets, Morris, & Harvey, 2013), it is clear that the converse is true if an event occurs linked to the dimension with the largest weighting. The double tragedy of MA in 2104 resulting in 537 total deaths is a prime example of this. The public immediately lost trust in the airline’s ‘Quality of Products and Services’, one of their most important dimensions. Resultantly the average weekly bookings steeply declined by 33% and multiple flights were cancelled (BBC, 2014). This shows the strength uncontrollable factors can have on a company’s reputation if they’re linked to a dimension people value highly.

What could be more important in any organisation than its people?

The core of any organisation are the employees; ensuring that they are motivated and are contributing maximal input to their work is imperative to the success of the company. As Director of Human Resources at Virgin Atlantic, Jill Brady said; “what could be more important in any organisation than its people?” (Brady, 2012).

Human Resources (HR) are responsible for employing specific people to reduce attrition rates, and increase the retention of employees. The recruitment process is a large part of this, and nowadays HR departments collate big data “using specific software to tailor recruitment campaigns to their needs” (Conboye, 2015).

Keeping employees in a business is an art which Human Resource Development (HRD) plays a key role in. Pay rises hold a large influence on employees, however research has shown that profit-sharing plans specifically stock options, bonuses, and “gain sharing” are better financial alternatives (Kets De Vries, 1996). Recently, benefits have shifted from monetary to non-monetary, and have been specifically customised for key employees; “one-size-fits-all retention packages are usually unsuccessful in persuading a diverse group of key employees to stay” (Cosack, Guthridge, & Lawson, 2015).

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Figure 1: A pie chart to show the top reason employees leave their job (Robinson, 2008).

The pie chart shows that 32% of employees left their  job due to lack of Career Advancement/ promotional opportunities. This is a leading issue that HRD need to tackle, particularly in smaller companies, such as Virgin. Brady is a good example career advancement “from in-house lawyer to HR Director” (Brady, 2012), however she understands that the HR team need to stress the vast potential for virgin employees to increase retention.

Speaking from experience, I believe that specific employee benefits are crucial because different demographics of people have different needs. I left my last job due to low pay because I’m a student where short term monetary gains are more important than long term benefits.


How did Virgin Blue continue its life cycle?

Every product has a life cycle; the length of time until a product becomes unfashionable, or out dated. The aim of every business is to prolong this lifecycle before it hits stages 5 and 6; Saturation and Decline respectively as seen in the diagram below. Often it is necessary to rebrand the product to extend its life cycle; stage seven of the diagram.


Figure 1: Graph to show the change in a product life cycle. (Marketing Strategy, 2015)

Virgin Blue (VB) was launched in 2000, as an Australian airline. Over the next ten years they managed to accumulate a fleet of 91 aircrafts, however they had entered the saturation phase of the life cycle (MarketingMag, 2012). In 2010, VB reported an “underlying net profit before tax of $72 million, down almost 63 per cent” (‘Australian aviation’, 2011) stressing the importance for an extension strategy – enter John Borghetti, VB’s new CEO. Borghetti was brought in to rebrand VB using the ‘game-change’ strategy.


The idea was to move away from low-cost flights towards a luxury airline through marketing and brand revitalisation. They changed their name to Virgin Australia and changed the brand identity dramatically, which included creating new uniforms and improving the interior and exterior of the planes. (‘Virgin Australia History’, n.d.). Virgin Australia saw huge beneficial results including; “climbing up the global rankings from 32nd in 2011 to 12th in 2012”, and having a “yield growth of 12.2%” (MarketingMag, 2012).

This week I have worked on my personal branding by updating my CV to try to stand out from the crowd, whilst also creating an overall image that a potential employer is looking for. It has been challenging, but today I found out I have passed the first round to work for Dyson which was based purely on my personal branding, so I am very pleased that the improvements seem to be paying off.


What does your logo colour mean about your business?

Creating a logo for your company is a defining brand decision and can influence the success of a business. The design of the logo should represent the type of products and the general attributes of the company. Two important aspects of the logo are the graphics and the colours. In a survey “92.6% said that they put most importance on visual factors when purchasing products” (Morton, 2004). A paper called ‘Colour Colour Everywhere… In marketing too” (Kumar, 2006) gave insight into how customers perceived logo colour. Kumar stresses the importance that the logo colours feature “consistently on all communications materials and sales tools” to continue the brand cohesion, and improve its recognisability (Kumar, 2006). Additionally, it is important that the colours do not have negative connotations, particularly “in other parts of world where the company aims to sell the product in the future” (Kumar, 2006).

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 17.53.50
Figure 1: Brand colour wheel shows the emotions linked to specific colours (Edmundson design, 2015).

The golden arches of McDonalds, Twitter’s Bird and the Nike Swoosh are all prime examples of memorable, well known and eye-catching logo’s. Virgin also have a recognisable logo; Brandson Branson decided on a very bold red colour. Looking at the colour wheel, red exudes energy, youth and confidence, and “is the epitome of Virgin’s red hot attitude”(Goodman, 2014). Kumar agued that the colour needs to be relevant to the target audience, and I believe Virgin’s red represents the youth and glamour that Branson targets.

This week I designed the logo for our dragon’s den group project; an app to improve the ease and safety of ticket sales and resale’s for students. The main colour of the logo is Teal, because I wanted to combine the trust worthy and successfulness associated with blue, and to represent the resale of tickets I wanted the universal recycle colour of green.

What happens if you are caught acting unethical?

In light of the VW scandal, ethics in business is a hot topic. If caught acting unethical, a consumer can lose serious trust in its business creating negative knock on effects in sales.

The business sector hosts many historical unethical stories, one relevant to my blog is between Virgin and BA. In the early 1990’s Virgin moved from Heathrow to Gatwick, intensifying their competition with British Airways. A large scandal arose between the two airlines where Virgin accused BA of ‘Dirty Tricks’. Branson claimed BA used spoiling tactics, private investigators, and that BA had recruited ‘Hunters’ who would poach Virgin passengers and make them travel BA instead (Branson, 2007, p. 357). Both the Sunday Times and the Guardian wrote articles backing Branson’s claims. However, BA seemed immune to the criticism due to their long history of a positive reputation. Enough evidence was eventually found for Virgin to sue BA and Lord King for libel, where they won damages of £110,000 for Virgin Atlantic, and £500,000 for Richard Branson, and paid a £3 million legal fee (Branson, 2007, p. 392).

Although it was claimed that “the directors were not party to any concerted campaign” (Branson, 2007, p. 394), Lord King retired a few months later in June 1993, emanating signs of a guilt. These tactics are signs of an unethical leader in terms of deception and breaching agreements. Lord King was lucky because executives of companies could face criminal charges if they “break laws and engage in unethical behaviour that leads to harmful practices for employees” (Zeiger, 2015).

Although BA managed to get out of this legal battle fairly unscathed, this doesn’t always happen. VW weren’t as lucky, simply because the extent they went to, to cheat the emissions tests is undeniable. VW lost peoples trust in their company, resulting in the loss of 30 billion euros of costs so far (Sheahan, Cremer, & Chambers, 2016).