Richard Branson
Richard Branson

Richard Branson gave a ringing endorsement of the power of branding on July 9 when he announced his plan to launch the first publicly traded “spaceline” company.

Virgin Galactic, his space tourism venture, has received $1B in investment since its inception in 2004.

Branson believes Virgin Galactic has a marketing edge because of “significant barriers to entry for potential competitors,” such as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

“These include the vertically integrated technical and operational expertise built over 15 years, and established and highly experienced workforce, and the strength of the Virgin Group’s brand recognition,” said Branson in his statement announcing the go-public plan.

I'm a fan of the Virgin brand and flew Virgin Atlantic from Newark-to-London in 1984, its first year of operation.

Sadly, I'm not yet jumping on the Virgin Galactic space bandwagon.

Branson has lined up 600 passengers, so far, for Virgin Galactic representing potential revenues of $120M, or a cool $200K per-flight.

Unless Sir Richard gives me a call, I’ll have to wait a couple of years for a big drop in prices before I book a seat on Virgin Galactic, which uses FTI Consulting for PR.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

“Britain humbled after Donald Trump pushes out its ambassador,” noted The Economist on July 10 in a commentary about the “specially strained relationship” between the UK and America’s president.

“We cannot have our ambassadors chosen by host governments,” former UK prime minister John Major told the Financial Times.

Kim Darroch quit as Britain’s ambassador to the US after sharing with London the consensus of the DC diplomatic corps that Team Trump is inept and dysfunctional.

As the New York Times reported today, Darroch’s assessment wasn’t exactly earth-shattering news. Everyone does it, said ex-French ambassador Gerard Araud.

The only difference: Darroch’s cables were leaked to The Daily Mail.

Incoming British prime minister Boris Johnson didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when he failed to support Britain’s man in DC, who was leaving his post by the end of the year.

Johnson, who has vowed to pull Britain out of the European Union with or without a Brexit deal, kowtowed to Trump because he needs a trade agreement with the tweeter-in-chief to offset the loss of the Continental market.

Good luck with that. After rounds of mind-blowing negotiating sessions with our deal-making president, Boris might have second thoughts about severing ties with the EU.

Former UK PM Tony Blair was ridiculed as George W. Bush’s “puppet” for supporting his bogus war with Saddam Hussein.

It looks like Boris will be Trump’s puppet on a string.

Alexa

Patients in the UK are turning to Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, to help them deal with aches and pains, according to CNBC.

The country’s National Health Service is working with Amazon to enable Alexa owners to ask it for info about treating common ailments and receive “NHS-verified health information in seconds.”

Matt Hancock, of the health service, told CNBC Alexa is a great way for patients to get “world-leading NHS advice from the comfort of their home, reducing the pressure on our hardworking general practitioners and pharmacists.”

Sounds great though a little creepy.

Do people really want to give Amazon any more information about their personal lives?

Think of the barrage of marketing messages that a person will receive from Amazon once the online retailer finds out that she suffers from migraines.

That walk to the local drug store may not be so bad after all. The exercise might do you some good.