A Right or A Revenue Stream? A Challenging Lesson from Sir Richard Branson

"We believe that certain [things] should be a right, not revenue stream." —Richard Branson

This quote was from an article about Virgin hotels offering luxury amenities like free social hour drinks, reasonably priced minibars and flexible check-in/out. This mindset is a huge reframe from prevailing or “old school” approach rooted in a zero-sum mindset.

If the purpose of business is to maximize profit, then the economist might say that this is imprudent. That everything - from the minibar to the mini bars of soap - we should be looking to find opportunity to increase our margin. But, if the purpose of business goes beyond profit (of course it still includes it) and is to help people flourish, then this focus on making delight a “right not a revenue stream” is almost inevitable. If this is our focus—to "make all boats rise”— then we will naturally find ways to provide value and delight to our customers without making it feel (or actually be) transactional.

The paradoxical thing is that this economical “imprudence” is becoming a highly effective strategy for winning and maximizing profit. Brand loyalty is a real thing that drives real dollars over the long haul.

Certainly it will look different for each organization — delight will look different given the nature of your business. What works to delight the customer of the plumber or the electrician looks different from what wins for the media agency, or from the educational nonprofit. 

What in your organization or business should you consider shifting from a revenue stream to a “right”?