Name: Shawna Burtscher
Job: Director, Experiential Marketing
Company: Audi of America
LinkedIn: Shawna Burtscher
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
Purposeful Sports & Entertainment Marketer. Being open to change, challenges, and risks. Continuously learning and being culturally curious. Collaborating.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
Buying: Integrated Assets. I work closely with our media-buying and brand teams to inform the functional, creative and impactful assets that bring our Experiential campaigns to life in authentic ways. Having consumers engage with our message in unique, but consist, ways across all of the channels and in all of the places they consume information and feed their passions creates action and drives consideration.
How do you define creativity?
My definition of creativity is pretty straight-forward: novel, original, unique ideas. However, the most creative concepts to me may not always be new ideas. The creativity lies within the implementation. The purpose, execution, and engagement of a concept with a clear message and intention for the audience are the most thoughtful and impactful (and in my mind, creative) ideas. Consumers need to be part of an experience – have some skin in the game – and be engaged – physically, emotionally or, preferably, both. That authentic connection is what creates personal memories and memorable brand moments.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
The projects that have purpose and contribute to others and society are what I am most proud of. I love creating thoughtful partnerships and leveraging sponsorships holistically. Working on the Olympic Torch Relay for Chevrolet was humbling and rewarding. The torchbearers truly embodied the Olympic spirit and were visibly inspirational to the fans lining the streets and cheering them on.
I am also extremely proud of my work with the James Beard Foundation’s (JBF) Women’s Leadership Programs, of which Audi is a founding partner. With women representing less than 20% of all chefs and head cooks in the United States and holding only 6% of the head chef positions at the top 15 restaurant groups in the US, Audi is hosting a four-city culinary pop-up restaurant experience called PROOF. PROOF features award-winning women chefs and restaurant owners, celebrating and showcasing their inspiring talent. (https://www.jamesbeard.org/audi-driveprogress-scholarship)
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
What I am working on now also falls into the “Work I am most proud of” category. As a long-standing partner of Major League Soccer and a passionate supporter of driving progress in all fields, Audi announced Audi Goals Drive Progress during MLS All-Star Week in Orlando. Goals Drive Progress is a league-wide, multi-year initiative to elevate the game of soccer in North America by expanding MLS Academies’ resources such as player education, housing and transportation. Audi Performance Centers, located at select MLS Academies, will be a key contributor to enriching off-field academic development and equipped with a vast range of technology, tutorial, and educational resources. For every goal scored in MLS play, Audi will be contributing to MLS Youth Academies. (https://www.mlssoccer.com/audi).
I am not only proud of the contribution this program is offering to the growth and development of players and the league, but as a marketer this is a gold star example of fostering a relationship with a sponsorship partner, identifying mutual objectives and passion points and working collaboratively to develop an integrated campaign that benefits all stakeholders across all channels. The goal of ‘Audi Goals Drive Progress’ is to provide long-term benefits to ALL academy stakeholders – the players, clubs, athletes’ parents and ultimately and continuously, the MLS fan.
As a connected fan, what’s the best piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
I continue to be inspired by MLB, Stand Up to Cancer and MasterCard’s collaboration. The fully integrated cause-related campaign effectively uses every communication method and channel reaching nearly every MLB fan; from dedicated in-game time that incorporates on-air talent, celebrities, athletes, grounds crew and every fan in the ballpark, to leveraging influencers on social, to network and digital take-overs and multi-month sponsor extensions both within MLB and in general market media. It’s a true case study.
Sara sits down to talk about subscription-based media, her proudest projects, and much more.
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
The biggest high is the opportunity to contribute to one of the last aspects of “live” programming. In this on-demand world, sports and experiences are rare exceptions that vividly allow real-time moments to unfold unfiltered. Another critical high are the people I have been fortunate to work with. Some of my best friends and longest relationships are with current and former sports marketing colleagues.
The only “low” for me may be that I have a difficult time transitioning after the crescendo and adrenaline of a monumental project or event into the initial calm and newness of researching and developing the next project.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
Universal inclusion, which is a societal element, not exclusive to the sports industry. I am hopeful and feel strongly, however, that the sports industry can inspire societal inclusivity if we collectively (leagues, players, sponsors, media) continue to evolve and lead by example.
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