The recently combined Stanco, Opex Group and Early Action Group (EAG) business has rebranded to SO Group.
Group chief executive Steve Barratt told EN it wanted to take on a new name with “elasticity” that could encompass the existing companies along with any future acquisitions. Stanco/Opex and EAG announced a merger agreement in February as part of plans to create a unified global exhibition services company. The deal incorporates Stanco, Opex Group, Exposystems, Excel Invision and EAG.
“We spent a lot of time and money into researching this brand and did a lot of market research into what we needed to deliver going forward,” Barratt said. “As we acquire more companies, we can integrate those into our new group branding without any issues. It’s also not a reconfiguration of existing brands but the launch of a new name for company with a new vision, that does what customers require and addresses where the market is.”
Underneath the top tier brand, the company has also created a host of new sub-divisions using the “SO” prefix including SO Wired, SO Simple and SO Hire.
“The subdivisions are being designed to help people outside our industry better understand the services we provide and clear up the process of delivering to exhibitors and visitors,” Barratt continued. It has also signed on marketing agency Hundred for a seven-month programme. Barratt said the first phase of this was conducting global research on where the world exhibition market is.
Alongside the branding changes, SO Group in the process of making other structural adjustments including a board reshuffle. David O’Beirne has been brought on-board as commercial director and is one of several management staff changes being made following the merger.
One of the cornerstones of the newly merged group is its international footprint. Barratt said it was in discussions with four othercompanies across Europe and the US about partnering to build additional services capabilities. It is also looking to announce a relationship in Asia shortly.
“We’re a new company with a new start and 14 weeks in and we’ll be taking our time to make sure that foundations are in the right place before the roof goes on,” Barratt added.
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