For Virgin Media employees, office life moves at an accelerated pace. Working for a digital market leader requires dedication and stamina, not to mention foresight and vision, with the finish line always set far into the future as the company powers ahead in the race to provide the latest technologies to its vast audience of consumers. As of 2013, when Virgin Media became part of Liberty Global – the world’s largest international cable operator – that customer base has expanded to include 24 million people spanning 14 countries.
Since then, Virgin Media has been pursuing a new strategy designed to embed digital thinking and operations into the DNA of the organisation. It is a two-pronged growth strategy, the first element of which will see the continued expansion of the company’s cable network to homes across the UK over the next two years.
“Virgin Media’s network expansion programme is called ‘Lightning’,” says Rhona Bradshaw, Director of Digital at Virgin Media. “It will enable our customers to take advantage of the digital ecosystem that is so critical to how they consume media, interact with their friends and family, and engage with the world.”
This goes hand-in-hand with what’s known as the “Digital Transformation Journey”. “This,” says Bradshaw, “is focused on ensuring that we are capable of not just serving our existing customers but also fulfilling the needs and expectations of tomorrow’s customer.”
The emphasis on the customer is reiterated time and again at Virgin Media headquarters, where the focus is firmly on creating products that are simple to use and relevant to the consumer. Of course, in the fast-moving world of digital technology, this is constantly progressing.
“How people consume media and use digital has transformed the way we behave, interact and live,” says Bradshaw. “Since the introduction of the smartphone, the use of digital technology has accelerated exponentially.”
Bradshaw outlines three key areas that the company is focusing on in order to take advantage of this changing relationship and remain relevant to its customer base. The first is personalisation, which is becoming increasingly important as customers come to expect tailored products and services. The second is described in the tech business world as “omni-channel” or the growing expectation among consumers of a seamless, integrated experience. “Consumers do not want to know where one part of the business stops and the other begins,” says Bradshaw, “they just want their experience to be uninterrupted and most importantly recognised regardless of the channel.”
The third key area is in the world of applications. These remain at the forefront of digital development strategies as companies offer a simple and unobtrusive way to interact with consumers. “This ambition is at the heart of Virgin Media’s philosophy,” says Bradshaw. “Our aim is to ensure that Virgin Media is seamlessly integrated into our customers’ lives.”
Crucial to the success of this campaign are the people behind the technology at Virgin Media. “All our employees live by five core values,” says Bradshaw. “Willing to challenge the status quo, red hot, smart disruption, insatiable curiosity and heartfelt service. Most importantly we look for like-minded individuals who want to have fun.” It’s a reference towards the company’s well-known penchant for taking a spirited, innovative approach. “Our brand sets us apart from all the others. Virgin is known for being just a little bit cheeky – we like to show our personality in all that we do.”