The Scott Partnership celebrates 20 years of business this year and to mark the occasion, I’ve been reminiscing about the success we’ve achieved, the changes we’ve seen over the years and everything we have to look forward to.
It all began in 1996, which means we share our anniversary with eBay and Dolly the sheep! Our first client was an informatics company that would later be acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific. At that time, we were primarily focused on PR and we had a mix of B2B and B2C clients in industries including science, home and garden, construction and KBB. The business continued to grow each year, alongside our biggest scientific client that was expanding at a considerable rate. With our network of contacts and close relationships with the media, we became increasingly visible in the scientific industry across the world and we built our team around a passion for science and effectively communicating it to the market.
Growth and going global
Our steady growth meant we outgrew our offices and we built our own development in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, which we moved into in 2007. During that time we also established a base in the US and China to service the increasingly global needs of our clients. In 2011, we acquired Kapler Communications and Phoenix Marcom, collectively forming Scott Partnership Holdings, bringing additional scientific consultancy and content expertise into the Group and enabling us to service more clients in our target sectors.
I am incredibly proud of our successes over the last 20 years. As a business, we have grown continuously for 17 years and we have worked with so many interesting and talented people along the way. Our multi-national teams have delivered countless media programmes and marketing campaigns to help our clients achieve success and we are constantly learning and evolving how we work to keep challenging our clients and anticipating their needs. I am passionate about bringing fresh talent into the industry and our salaried internship programme, which we have been running for around twelve years, demonstrates our commitment to that cause.
Progress is impossible without change
Over the years I have seen so much change and I am sure I will continue to – it would be boring if things stayed the same, right? When I first started my career in PR, everything was done manually and a huge amount of time was spent on admin; posting press releases and booking photographers for press events.
Being in this industry has meant I’ve had the pleasure of working with some incredibly talented editors and journalists who have covered the industry’s most fascinating stories from groundbreaking research to the latest big acquisition. The way the media engage with our clients has changed significantly – it’s had to, to be able to effectively engage with the target audience, adapting to how they consume information. This is true globally, and some of the greatest changes are happening simultaneously in the USA, China and India.
The shift in the function of marketing within businesses has also resulted in changes in the way we work with clients. Marketing has become much more closely linked to sales functions. Rather than speaking to clients that have a clear, defined strategy and are looking for a partner just for tactical implementation, we now provide a more consultative and strategic service to help clients develop programmes that will deliver the best results. We also consider the sales and marketing perspective when planning campaigns to offer a more integrated approach and get buy-in from both sides. It is in this way that we’re now delivering the highest value to our clients and enables us to work as a true partnership, it’s also great fun!
Some of our most successful campaigns have been with clients who were willing to take a small risk and do something different in their marketplace. We love finding effective and sometimes really creative ways to help our clients reach their customers. A few particularly memorable programs are the chartering of a plane to fly journalists to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to launch a new informatics solution called Atlas, and a trip to the land of fire and ice (Iceland) to launch an ultra high and low temperature analytical instrument. Less exotic, but equally as powerful, are programmes that we have designed to engage and nurture target audiences in closed online communities, using key opinion leaders that they wouldn’t usually have access to in order to provide valuable content and answer questions.
Partners in success
As well as our clients and the media, we’ve also partnered with a number of other businesses that have played a formative role in our first 20 years of business. We’ve been privileged to support The Lake District Calvert Trust, an incredible North West charity offering outdoor adventure to people with disabilities. We are proud to have provided pro bono PR activity and support for their annual ball and Christmas cards for 20 years. We also work with the esteemed journal, Nature to develop the content for their Product Focus features, highlighting the latest global scientific innovations.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us along the way and chosen us as their communications partner. We appreciate everyone and love the opportunity to engage globally with such dynamic companies – we are so proud to be able to contribute to the successes of our clients. Here’s to the next 20 years, cheers!
Kath Darlington, CEO of The Scott Partnership Group