Sir Richard Branson: Using Information To Build A Business, A Brand And Corporate Culture

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, who has been out fundraising for hurricane relief, on Wednesday told attendees of this week's Veritas Vision conference that how we are using information is critical to decision making in business or politics.

Branson's Necker Island, which is part of the British Virgin Islands, was devastated by Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Category 5 Hurricane Irma was the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever, with winds that reached 185 mph.

Fresh from the days spent in the aftermath of that disaster, Branson expressed his concerns about President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

[Related: Hurricane Irma: Florida Solution Providers Batten Down The Hatches As Massive Storm Approaches]

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Branson said that the collapse of communications and infrastructure caused by Hurricane Irma resulted in what seemed to those impacted a shift from the 21st Century to the 19th Century in a matter of hours.

"I can't help but think: 'How much more destruction do we need before we change how we use our resources?' This is a moment to make a full, unambiguous commitment to the Paris agreement, not retreat from it," Branson said.

For both business decisions and political decisions, Branson said information needs to be used correctly to have value. "It's important to take advantage of information and data," he said. "But data, information, and facts are not interchangeable terms."

Successful businesses, he said, are those who successfully use data and information while keeping the well-being of their employees and communities at the forefront.

Branson's Virgin Group is a global business with 50 million customers and over $25 billion in revenue, but Branson feels that growth came, in part, via a healthy corporate culture and its ability to act on information.

"Brands are built on beliefs that shouldn't be compromised," he said. "And brands are built on information."