At a major presentation to its customers in Brighton this month, Scorpio Distributors announced a new identity for the company: Scorpio Worldwide, with a new logo, upgraded website and improvements throughout the company. Senior management changes were also announced with Stuart McGuire taking over as Chairman with immediate effect and current Chief Operating Officer Ian Cowie becoming Managing Director. The company also announced the opening of a new regional office in Dubai at Jumeirah Lake Towers.
Taking over the Seattle Hotel in Brighton, Scorpio gathered customers from all over the world to explain the reasons behind the change; in usual company style combining business presentations with fabulous entertainment and a fun product trade show which enabled one lucky person to win a weekend in Moscow with visits to the Ballet and Moscow Air Show, courtesy of Scorpio and Aviator brand-owner Volmax.
Introducing the proceedings, Stuart McGuire thanked his customers, partners and own employees for their incredible support and hard work over the years. Founded in 1995 with just three employees, Scorpio now has a staff of over 50 and a turnover of close to $100m (including third-party contracts) 'I never dreamt of building a company of the size and with the success as we have today,' said McGuire. 'To say I am proud is an understatement.' In 2007 – with a turnover of $16m annually - Scorpio went into partnership with Heinemann, which took a 51% stake in the company, enabling it to acquire the distribution rights for a number of leading perfume and cosmetics companies in the UK and – in some cases – regionally and globally. 'This has really fuelled our growth and P&C now accounts for around 30% of our turnover,' said McGuire.
Scorpio's remit has been to 'be seen as a seamless link between brands and clients', continued McGuire highlighted the massive changes in the airline industry over the past five years through acquisitions, mergers, bankruptcies– plus the growth of LCC's, the effect of LAGS, the financial crisis, growing dominance of internet sales, terrorism etc – had all put huge pressure on the ability to retail in the air. McGuire believes the company's sound financial footing has led to an increase in sales as clients have moved away from some suppliers who have not been able to honour advertising commitments or sale or return agreements, an essential part of the in-flight business. ‘As a result, we have seen sales growth of 300% in the last six years, not including third-party contracts,' he continued, pointing to Aviator Watches as the most listed product on airlines globally. In 2006 Aviator sold 15,000 units worth £1.35m at retail. In 2011, the brand sold 170,000 units worth £19m.
While airlines have always been Scorpio's core business, the company is now actively developing its travel retail ground sales. 'Airlines will always remain our core and the most important sector of our business, but we do recognise that the most growth potential is on the ground,' said McGuire. In just six years the Travel Retail Sales division has grown from nothing to over 600 retail listings.
Today Scorpio does not want to be known just as a distributor, hence the name change. 'We are a sales and marketing company that distributes products and works worldwide with almost every airline in the world and most travel retail groups.' But when you are bigger, your customers expect more and it was, therefore, time for Scorpio to look at itself, look at how far we have come, where we're at and where we need to go in order to develop ever closer relationships with our clients.'
Following a series of in-depth customer surveys and one to one interviews, both internally and with clients externally, Scorpio has emerged with a new identity, new branding and refreshed a set of values: friendly, authentic, thorough and pioneering. The new logo is pivotal to the new identity: – the 'o' of Scorpio communicating the philosophy, nature and heart of this family-led business: inclusivity, a circle of friends, a 360-degree service.
Managing director Ian Cowie explained that the surveys had been carried out over the past two years to ascertain 'What does the Scorpio brand stand for'. 'It's really about sales, marketing, service and fulfilment,' he said. 'We are a house of brands offering a 360-degree service. We didn't want to change the nature of who we are or lose sight of the past. We are the same company with the same core values, and the same people – we've just become a lot bigger and in some areas, we needed to improve. So in effect, it's business as usual – but with enhancements.'
All areas of the business were examined including product delivery and availability, account handling, and product presentation and marketing support. Based on feedback received, the company has made a number of changes and improvements including improving availability of products within the P&C category, restructuring its regional teams, upgrading its communication/marketing support materials, introducing a wider range of innovative, unusual and on-trend brands such as Skin Doctors, Lip Smackers, Di Palomo and Hot Diamonds, 'We have to balance the heritage of the company with the needs of our customers today to ensure we are fit for purpose, not just now but in the future,' he said.
One key area has been the need for additional investment in IT and resources. 'We've implemented a 20% increase in resource over the past 18 months and are still recruiting – including a new buyer specifically focussed on innovation,' he said. 'Within IT, we have totally replaced our equipment and have upgraded our presentation facilities.'
Part of this investment is a totally new website, due to launch very soon, which sets new standards in terms of product information and marketing support. 'Our aim is that it will be the best website of its kind in the business,' said Cowie. 'Dynamic and groundbreaking it will revolutionise the marketing and promotional support we can offer our customers.'
Sales and Marketing Director Richard Kennedy finished the morning presentations with a product update, highlighting products for the coming year, such as Aviator and the new brands such as Sturmanskie watches, and new lines across the watch, jewellery and gift sets, children's and essential travel products categories. A final tribute was paid to the company and, in particular, Stuart McGuire by Martin Moodie founder and chairman of The Moodie Report.
After lunch, customers were then put into groups and spent a fun afternoon learning about the various products available for 2013. At each presentation 'Satellite Space Cards' were stamped, the completed cards being entered for the Moscow trip prize draw. This was drawn at the evening event and won by Carolyn Mariani of DFASS America.
Customers attending the event included DFASS Group Singapore and America, Saint-Honore Panama, St Doras Taiwan, Saudi Airlines, Traveller Dubai, Lojas Francis Portugal, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airway’s, Tourvest, Jet2, Flybe and many others from the UK and Europe.
During his speech, Stuart McGuire also played tribute to his pioneering father – Bruce McGuire – without whose entrepreneurial spirit 'none of this would ever have happened' and to his late colleague and close friend Alan Edwards.
Enquiries: Richard Kennedy, Scorpio Worldwide
Tel: (44) (0) 1293 411733
Fax: (44) (0) 1293 414544
Rowena Holland, Essential Communications
Tel: (44) (0) 208 405 8109
Fax: (44) (0) 208 405 0330