This is Day #2 in my quest, for me and the team, to partner with Richard Branson in order to create the first ever Virgin Media Center.
Back Story: Redefining Retail
More than 10 years ago I made a serious effort to identify a gap in in retail settings — consumers gravitating toward online shopping versus in-store purchases.
More recently, we’ve seen brick-and-mortar stores charging their customers a fee to combat “showrooming,” where, upon sampling products, for a cheaper price, consumers are buying online. Additionally, to compete with price slashing, stores are running many more sales at deeper discounts.
However, you have experts like Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore, authors of “The Experience Economy,” who explain that if a retail store experience is done well, store owners can increase prices. But are those truly “right things” to do?
Virgin Social would have:
- Talented experts educating people on the ever-changing world of social media.
- Individual sessions would cost around $30 — group rates would be available too e.g. $99 per four people — and focus on what we call “Digital 101.”
- Business concierge who can match up Virgin Socialites, to connect them with creative resources for starting or growing a business — collaborations would be welcomed. Those who score from their [Virgin] Social connection(s) would be asked to showcase their success.
- Virgin Social centers would offer a daily cornucopia of high-touch sessions and inform visitors of the many free small-business resources in the respective city. (In Chicago, where I wrote and successfully published “The Chicago Entrepreneurs Sourcebook” back in 1990 — Really! — I showcased over 300 free resources, in Chicago alone, for those who wanted to start a business or creative venture.)
- The energy of an Apple Store; the ambience and aesthetic of what was Virgin Mega Store; the cool addition of small-group multimedia learning infused with connection sessions.
These elements make up Virgin Social.
Now we look at the sorely missed Freedom Museum that graced Michigan Avenue. The first Virgin Social Store would offer everyone what they want and need greatly — a connection-direction center.
The Entertainment Element
Dear Mr. Branson,
I’m going to ask you to network through time with me. If I could bring back Harry Houdini and have him perform the perfect magic trick to get you to partner with me and my team, what trick of his do you think I would choose? Stay tuned as I’ll share it on . . . Day #3 of “Entertaining Richard Branson.”
Thank you for you time and I again invite anyone who starts to resonate with me and my quest to share comments and ideas here so Mr. Branson can see we care. Also the more you show support here, the more this vision of a social learning and connection place becomes a reality.
And finally, the social impact of this place is that for every person who pays for a learning session we will teach a session to a disadvantaged young person. Additionally we will ask our recipients of these sessions to pay their learning forward to two of their colleagues. So, just as when we light another’s unlit candle we don’t extinguish our own, we will grow a world of brightness never to go dark again.