Richard Branson’s interview about Virgin America goes viral. But why?

I have another confession to make. I haven’t been on Virgin America, and I really want to try it! (the first confession was a couple of weeks back that I haven’t been on Southwest, and that I wanted to meet the rapping flight attendant). Why the sudden burst of emotions? Well, because I just watched an interview of Richard Branson in one of those purple-blue cabins and I was mesmerized, yet again.

Why is it all the rave? Thanks to The Nerdist.

Because this time, Richard was interviewed by Chris Hardwick, “The Nerdist“, and Chris has been generating lots of comments on the interview, been Tweeting about it and making a lot more fans for the airline than probably a Virgin America advertisement in the morning daily would have. Why am I so sure? May be because on Twitter, Chris has 20 times the “followers” that Virgin America has! And I bet his website gets more hits than the Virgin America website too.

The point I’m trying to make? Airlines are in the service business, and not in the transport business. And because of that, airlines cannot shy away from social media anymore. Be it working with influencers like Chris or The Cranky Flier, or providing accelerated customer service through Twitter. In an interview with USA Today. JetBlue’s CEO Dave Barger summed up my emotions about social media best:

“My sense is that really – not just in America – but the around world there’s what’s known as mainstream media. But, new social media, it’s there. It’s real-time…. It’s Real.”

I just think that Dave Barger makes a lot of sense. What do you think? Watch the Branson video below and share your thoughts in the comments section, or come talk to me (@simpliflying)  on Twitter.

There are still two more autographed copies of the book on Singapore Airlines to be given away, and a 4gb Apple iPod to be won. You too can be a winner, just by re-tweeting a comment from SimpliFlying or leaving a comment on this site. Learn more here.

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 6 comments
  • Stephane Cheikh

    As usual, Richard Branson is right on and inspiring.
    I do not agree to the fact that people traveling on Virgin America will not fly on another brand later. Why, because most of the travelers will go for the cheaper seats, and some people, who can afford more, will then choose their brand, but right now you choose your price first…

  • Andrew

    @simpliflying just saw your new post on @VirginAmerica, curious what do you think about this?

  • Dan Webb

    Well, it’s definitely a cool clip, and Branson is definitely one of the stars of the industry. I will (hopefully) be able to see him speak at a conference in August, and I can’t wait. But, is it really best for him to be promoting Virgin America? From a marketing perspective, absolutely yes. But right now Virgin is busy fighting off claims that it’s in violation of foreign ownership laws. Having a foreign CEO talk on the airline’s behalf only gives ammunition to airlines like Alaska who are trying to fight against VX.

  • Jacqueline

    I agree that Virgin airlines is the best airline – having had a chance to test it myself last year from SF to LAX, I can’t wait for it to have more destinations they fly to – the service is outstanding and the entire experience is fabulous – they have even outdone great JetBlue by adding more cool stuff to the experience of flying such as the colors on the plane, the comfort and the technology. My hats off to Sir Branson who continues to surprise us with his creativity and risk taking…can’t wait for the trips to space!!!

  • Andrey

    “Airlines are in the service business, and not in the transport business” is a good point. I referenced it in my blog if you don’t mind.

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