As part of an extensive programme reorientation that will be based upon a conception of sponsorship activities focussed strongly on branding, the Austrian Airlines Group is concluding a highly promising partnership agreement with the Salzburg Festival for 2003. The exclusive group of main sponsors of the world-famous Austrian cultural festival includes the Austrian Airlines Group, Audi, Nestlé, Siemens and Uniqa.
At the signing of the sponsorship agreement on 7 August in the Festival Hall, Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler, the President of the Salzburg Festival, made the following remarks about the current situation in international cultural media: “The Salzburg Festival stands for extraordinary cultural enjoyment celebrated across the world, while the Austrian Airlines Group is a renowned forerunner and prominent international ambassador for Austrian service quality. Together, we represent the very highest - unmistakeably Austrian - levels of quality. The co-operation that we are launching today could not be more appropriate and promising.”
In the course of the re-conception of the overall market presence, the Austrian Airlines Group will re-orientate its entire market communications division, and with it the Sponsorship sub-division. Vagn Soerensen, Chief Executive Officer at the Group, comments on the importance of sponsorship for the Austrian Airlines Group: “We use sponsorship in a highly targeted way, where we believe we will be able to broaden our brand strength both nationally, and above all internationally, through the image transfer process.
The tonality of our sponsorship activities is to be found in the Austrian identity, culture and hospitality, combined with verve, dynamism, innovativeness and modernity. In total, we shall concentrate our 2003 commitment to the sponsorship area on clearly defined and image-related projects in culture, sports, social affairs, Eastern Europe and congress sponsoring.”
The figure the Austrian Airlines Group estimates it will put towards sponsorship payments in 2003 is around EUR 1,5 million, of which EUR 575,000 will go towards the partnership with the Salzburg Festival. Commitment in this area in 2003 will also be concentrated on the expansion of market position in international third markets, with the Austrian Airlines Group targeted specifically at the high-value incoming traffic to Austria. Combined marketing will primarily take place through joint PR- and promotional activities, advertising co-operations in the print and online media as well as through direct marketing activities targeting potential visitors and specialized tour-operators.
In a final observation, the Chief Commercial Officer of the Austrian Airlines Group Dr. Josef E. Burger remarked that, “We don’t operate a system of patronage at the Austrian Airlines Group. Our market communications budget is distributed according to specific projects and target groups and between the Advertising, Public Relations, Sponsorship, Direct and Internet Marketing divisions. Our total market communications budget will not be rising due to our work with the Salzburg Festival, as the figure committed to this sponsorship agreement has been released following restructuring and the concentration of funds. We need to make the sponsoring a win-win situation, both in terms of brand tonality and commercial expectations. Our partnership with the Salzburg Festival will enable us to strengthen our presence in targeted long-haul markets such as Japan, the USA and China, as well as Western and Central Europe.”