Richard Branson, London Marathon, pic by Nick J. Webb

Looking today for some inspiration for a blog post, I decided to take a dive into the archives (a standard tip as one of the ways to deal with blogger’s block).

I noticed that back in October 2004 I had posted here about some key principles to which Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson  is said to have attributed the brand’s success – Virgin’s “brand values”. The book Business the Richard Branson Way: 10 Secrets of the World’s Greatest Brand Builder, by Des Dearborn.

The principles were:

  • value for money
  • quality
  • reliability
  • innovation
  • an indefinable, but nonetheless palpable, sense of fun

So I was thinking, how would a home based business go, applying those principles or taking them as a model set of brand values?

I can’t imagine anyone arguing seriously against the first three: value for money, quality and reliability. So surely we can take them as read.

I’m personally ok with innovation in any business context, including for professionals working from home. For example in my coaching business I am always keen to learn about ways I can coach more effectively from a distance – e.g. I love Skype for that, both the audio and video versions.

Sense of fun as a brand value

But what I found really interesting to be reminded about was the Branson/Virgin commitment to fun.

Business the Richard Branson Way book
Then I realized I am reminded of it whenever I get on a Virgin flight, which I do fairly frequently. The crew always seem to have a genuine sense of fun, while at the same time having an air of knowing what they are doing professionally, just as much as I see with crew on planes of their competitors.

And by the way, now that I think of it, I wonder why the crew on the competitor planes don’t give any sense that they are having fun, any sense that they might be feeling – if I can put it this way – that right now the best thing they could be doing in the whole world is helping to make my flight and that of a crowd of others on the plane as comfortable, safe and enjoyable as it could be. As the Virgin crews seem to be able to do.

My sense is that it’s that kind of “sense of fun” the adventure-loving, knighted tycoon Branson means as one of the key Virgin values.

So back to the professionals working from home.

I’m trying to think whether having and displaying a sense of fun (indefinable, but nonetheless palpable) is part of how I do business now.

I certainly feel it is. I know I enjoy the coaching process, including when it is dealing with quite serious business issues. I enjoy helping companies develop and implement their social media strategies. In that sense I have a sense of fun about what I do. And I enjoy continually learning more about coaching and social media and sharing what I learn.

I quite like the idea of elevating the sense of fun I *feel* in doing business to being a key brand value. After all, if I’m not having fun doing business and letting that show, I believe I’m going to have a difficult time trying to help clients look to having a sense of fun in their business – however indefinable, but nonetheless palpable that might be.

What do you feel about all that.?

Is a sense of fun a useful, appropriate value for a business?

Is there anything about working from home that makes it particularly appropriate – or inappropriate?

Can you share an example of how having and displaying a sense of fun might help (or has helped) your business or a business you know about?

Or the obverse – how it has been present but has not served your business, or someone else’s, well?

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