The Salzburg Festival has played a particularly vibrant role in the musical and operatic life of Europe and has long been the world’s premier music festival. It regularly presents an extraordinary array of opera, orchestral, choral and chamber concerts, solo recitals, and theatre by the world’s leading musicians, directors, artists and actors in July and August each summer. The American Friends of the Salzburg Festival was founded in 1987 to enhance the experience of Americans attending the Festival and to provide a way for Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to the Festival.
Under the sponsorship of a leading American patron of the Festival, AKA’s first assignment was to design and implement a highly focused, multi-year marketing plan. Working closely with the leadership of the Festival, this plan sought to meet four interrelated goals: improving the visibility of the Festival in the United States, increasing the number of Americans attending the Festival, expanding membership in the American Friends organization, and growing the financial support of the Festival by American Friends.
AKA provided continuing counsel on improving the visibility of the Salzburg Festival in the United States, strengthening its American Friends organization and establishing its first global development initiative.
To raise the profile of the Festival in the United States, we designed and oversaw the implementation of an integrated program that included development of a graphic identity for the Festival in the United States; development of an American Friends web site; and design of print advertisements in leading publications. The program also included sponsorship of radio broadcasts of Festival orchestral and solo performances, and a concerted media initiative. In addition, services to members have been broadened and deepened through a series of educational symposia during the Festival, the addition of staff based in New York and Salzburg, and the updating of the American Friends web site to include streaming of selected symposia.
Our original assignment was subsequently broadened to create an American-style development capacity within the Festival itself, in order to increase substantially private funding on a global basis. In this phase, we provided counsel to the President of the Festival, on the design and structure of a new development office, recruitment of leadership and principal staff of the new office, development of the Festival’s first comprehensive international development plan, and execution of the development plan. Early results of this initiative are highly favorable: total revenues from corporate sponsorships have increased by more than 35%; contributions from individuals have tripled; and the pool of prospective donors and supporters has more than quadrupled over the past two years.
We provided continuing counsel to both the Festival and the American Friends on an array of strategic, development, communications and visibility matters.
There was excellent progress in each of the marketing and visibility areas, with the result that American interest in, and support of, the Festival has substantially grown each year. Over the five years following the assignment, total ticket sales to Americans have increased by more than 50%; the membership of the American Friends has almost tripled; and total voluntary support by Americans to the Festival has grown five-fold.
With our assistance, the Festival has realized significant, focused progress in positioning, visibility and funding. The Festival has achieved high name recognition in the United States and ticket sales have reached unprecedented levels. In addition, substantial new private support from both individuals and corporate sponsors is generating significant incremental resources as public funding becomes more constrained. These achievements will enable the Festival to deepen its artistic leadership and undertake significant capital construction over the coming years.