Is your culture infectious?

Having strangers instantly associate my business with ‘fun’ could become my cultural goal. KIRSTY DUNPHEY

Kirsty Dunphey

By Kirsty Dunphey

At a conference in gorgeous Hamilton Island this morning I asked a packed room of around 400 people a question of opinion. 

I told them that the morning before I’d take two flights – one with Jetstar and one with Virgin Blue (both Australian domestic airlines). My question to them was which flight did they think I’d had more fun on? Their answer overwhelmingly was that they thought I’d had more fun on the Virgin flight.

And they were of course right. When I hopped on the Virgin Blue flight I was called by my first name – off to a good start. And then because someone in that company a long time ago gave them permission to have fun and show their personality, I got a little comedy routine as well as my flight.

Was the Jetstar flight in any way bad or did I get poor service? No (not this time). The flight was fine, but unmemorable in every way.

When Virgin Blue tell a plane load of people that we can’t bring fish products, fish fingers or mullet haircuts back home, their culture infects people on that plane and leads to this overwhelming feeling that Virgin Blue are the “fun” airline – such that a room full of 400 strangers know it instantly.

I’d love to think that in the companies I work with I’m constantly working towards a cultural state whereby a room with 400 strangers would be able to overwhelmingly pick my company as the one they’d had fun with too.


Kirsty Dunphey is one of Australia’s most publicised young entrepreneurs and is the founder of – the ultimate tool to help real estate agents write amazing advertisements. The youngest ever winner of the Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year award, Kirsty started her first business at 15, her own real estate agency at 21, was a self-made millionaire at 23 and a self-made multi-millionaire at 25. For more information on Kirsty or either of her books – Advance to Go, Collect $1 Million and Retired at 27, If I can do it anyone can, or to sign up to her weekly newsletter head to:

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Martin writes: I think Virgin staff should leave comedy to the comedians. Being greeted by my name is a great thing and then being spoken to in a friendly, helpful tone is in my opinion great customer service. I want to feel confident though that the flight crew are serious about my safety and I think corny jokes sets the wrong tone. Friendly & helpful – yes. Dumb jokes – No. Remember the flight crew are there primarily to keep us all safe and execute the emergency procedure if necessary. Serving drinks and snacks is a secondary role.


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