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What Others Say: The Art of Performance – As told by Steve Solski

What Others Say: Part 1 of 4

We could talk endlessly about the magic of marketing. The sophisticated nuances of savvy strategy and the bottom line return on investment if you invest in our expertise. Be it giant global agencies, or solo ma’n’pa shops, that’s what we all chant. It’s the nature of our business. The stuff we persuasion gurus preach from our marketing pulpits. Call it Marketing Mantra 101: we know best. And if we can persuade you, just think of how that well-honed persuasiveness will grab your markets.

But what’s the real low down? Is all this bold boasting credible? We asked those who know Interkom best, the people from the companies and organizations we work with, for an objective assessment. What Others Say: The Art of Performance is the first in a four-part series of straight up feedback from the field.

Performance means many different things to many different people. For gear heads – we’re talking performance cars. For employees – the first thought might suggest annual performance reviews. In business boardrooms – it’s about quarterly sales and bottom line profits. Here at Interkom – it’s how we measure our salt worth in terms of our client’s goals and outcomes. At the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St Catharines, and other institutions of its ilk, the base meaning is all about live, on stage activity that entertains an audience. Well, okay, that and business goals and outcomes.

In this first segment of our four part series, What Others Say, we turn the spotlight on Steve Solski, Executive Director of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, for his candid review of our performance as a behind the scenes fundraising partner.

Steve first worked with us back in 2006-07-08 at the City of Brampton’s Rose Theatre where we did it all: annual season brochures, patron packages, sponsor campaigns and event advertising.

A handful of years later we found ourselves working together again, in an all together different context. How did Interkom come to fill a fundraising role for a venue that only existed in the minds of visionary community leaders, the blueprints of architects and the budget ledgers of federal, provincial and municipal governments?

Performing above expectations

“Fundraising follows a standard. We all know and understand that approach. But Interkom’s ideas weren’t based on your standard model,” Steve recollects. “It was a brand new frontier for Interkom, something outside their portfolio of services. We were a unique client and we found they rose to the challenge with a unique, creative proposal.”

During the RFP process Interkom brought in experts who could speak fundraising lingo. “A lot of agencies just talk at you,” says Steve. “Bringing these experts to the table makes it more credible and convincing. When someone from the industry speaks from knowledge, you don’t roll your eyes. You know they have relevant insights and that creates a level of trust. That’s the key differential to me – Interkom’s associates. They bring in the right people to match projects and that’s a good success model.

A contract was drawn for Interkom to provide consultation services for a capital campaign. The initial goal was $5.5 million. Steve says he found Interkom’s intuitive services and solid understanding of the community “led us in the right direction.” That direction, as it turns out, exceeded targets by 45 per cent, with a pre-opening gala tally closing in on $8 million.

“Interkom’s a small organization so you get a very different approach,” says Steve. “The company ensures success by digging in, getting involved and taking a hands-on approach. They pick their contracts and don’t spread their creative thin.

“We exceeded our target. We exceeded our fundraising goal. And we we’re able to do it on time. All in all it was a very successful campaign. Interkom delivers. They’re intuitive and flexible in their plans, and are willing to change course if something isn’t working. It’s a proactive approach that ensures success.”

For all of us at Interkom, our associates included, this very success is music to our ears.