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Matthew Currie Matthew Currie is a freelance writer specializing in technology and entertainment. He is a frequent contributor to Sharp Magazine and various other print and online publications. Born in
President John McGouran
Halifax, Nova Scotia, he spent most of his formative years in the small town of Carlisle,
Editorial and Creative Director Michael La Fave
Ontario. He currently splits time between Toronto and Vancouver.
Assistant Editor Jordan Dykstra Art Director Adam Taylor Associate Art Director Evan Kaminsky Managing Editor Jeremy Freed
Isabel Vincent Isabel Vincent is an award-winning investigative journalist currently working for the New York Post. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New
York Times, T Magazine, the Independent, Marie Claire, L’Officiel (Paris), and many other international publications. She lives in New York City.
Associate Editor Greg Hudson Advertising Jeff McCann firstname.lastname@example.org 416 854 3619 Contributors Matt Bubbers, Alex Grigorescu, Bradley Horn, Paul Koziorowski, Zach Slootsky, Justin Stephens, Isabel Vincent, Brigitte Ward French Adaptation SDS Linguistics Inc. 145 Wheeler Court Rockwood, ON N0B 2K0 email@example.com Cover Photograph Justin Stephens/Corbis Outline Printing St. Joseph Communications 50 MacIntosh Boulevard Concord, ON L4K 4P3 firstname.lastname@example.org Write us at email@example.com Special thanks to Hôtel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square 75 Bremner Blvd. Toronto, ON M5J 0A1 (416) 649-4072 www.germainmapleleafsquare.com No responsibility will be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts and photos received. Despite careful selection of sources, no responsibility can be taken for accuracy. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. The vehicle specifications listed apply to the Canadian market, and are subject to change.
Paul Koziorowski Paul has been creating editorial and fashion imagery for nearly a decade and has been published in various magazines, print and online media. Recently, Paul expanded his line of work to include fine art photography and is quickly gaining both recognition and popularity in the Greater Toronto Area and across the country. To see more of Paul’s work, visit www.one2photography.com.
© 2011 Audi Canada. All rights reserved.
Audi magazine / 09
Why here? Mike Briscoe, Audi Canada’s Director of Marketing and Product Management, chooses to talk to us from the relaxed elegance of the newest location of Hôtel Le Germain. By Jordan Dykstra (interview) & Paul Koziorowski (photos)
Audi magazine: Why here Mr. Briscoe? Mike Briscoe: Audi actually has a relationship with Le Germain, and part of the reason for that is the environment here. It’s a sophisticated environment that uses real materials—you can really sense and feel that. It’s similar to an Audi, where we use real wood and real leather in our cars. So, it’s a good relationship that we have. In fact, with every purchase of the new Audi A7, which is being launched in the second quarter of this year, a customer will get two free nights’ stay in a Le Germain hotel in Canada. What benefits are there for Audi to associate itself with Le Germain? There are five locations in Canada, with two of them being in Toronto, as well as hotels in Calgary, Vancouver and Quebec City, so they span the country well. This type of hotel is right here in the hub of the city, and the type of people that come here look for similar attributes as they would in an Audi. So it’s a good relationship to have. You were recently named Audi Canada’s new Director of Marketing and Product Management. What did you do before that? I was the Manager of Product Strategy with Audi, so I was responsible for all product packaging and pricing for all of the Audi cars in Canada and for bringing them to market. And by packaging I’m sure you don’t mean bubble wrap. (Laughs) No, it’s about making sure that the cars are suited to Canadians' needs and that they have the equipment that people want to buy. Part of that is also about simplifying the ordering process, so we really do a lot of background work to understand what people want in their cars. We do a lot of legwork ahead of time, and then still allow a lot of choice at the dealer level.
Is that why you chose to work for Audi? Well, there are a couple of things. That was a major consideration for me when I decided that it made sense for me to come over to Audi, but part of it was also joining when it became a new national sales company. That was a great challenge to take on. I really wanted to be part of the beginning, from conception, and then really start growing it and bringing it to where we want it to go. And then there’s the products themselves, knowing how strong the company is globally, and how much we have to say about Audi in Canada and knowing that there’s a lot of room to grow here. So how has Audi Canada grown since it split from America? When I started here, we were celebrating a great year, but we were at around 8,200 units. Since then, we’ve sold 14,333 units as of 2010, so it’s a 74 percent increase in our sales. How does it feel to be a part of that? It feels fantastic. It’s a great dynamic team that I work with, and it’s about everybody and how we put all of the pieces together. It’s not about one person doing the job, but about how we all work well together and how we work well with Germany in bringing the right product over to satisfy the needs we have here. Ya, it feels great. What do you hope to accomplish in your role as Director of Marketing and Product Management? The goals that I have for myself are to really build the team. We’ve been here for three years, with a small team when we started—it’s still a small team. It was very entrepreneurial when we got going, and it’s still like that
How did you come to Audi? I started with Audi three years ago—actually the first day that Audi became a national sales company in Canada—and that was when we really took clear focus on understanding the needs of Canadians and taking that away from being controlled out of the U.S. I think in the last three years we’ve shown a lot of success. It’s been a lot of fun. Where did you go to school? I went to University of Waterloo. I actually have an engineering background, of all things. I started off in my career doing real design work and then I kind of switched into the automotive world about ten years ago. Now, I’m really getting into how marketing works in a car. It’s the technology behind the cars that I really appreciate, right down to the design level. And Audi, being a real technology-based company, it really fits very well for me. Vorsprung Durch Technik is right on with where I’m coming from.
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“A u d i i s a p ro g re s s i v e c o m p a n y, s o w e re a l l y w a n t to be in the forefront with everything that we do, including our marketing and our product management… T h a t ’s w h a t o u r c u s t o m e r s e x p e c t .” a little bit. I like that dynamic. But we still have work to do. We still have to grow our team and grow our focus in the market. There are many different areas that we can look at in the marketing realm. Instead of just digital space, there’s a whole new area opening up within marketing overall, and we really want to jump on that. And then the other half of the job is product management, in bringing all the right cars to market as well. There are a lot of changes in the marketplace right now, and we’re really excited about being in that wave as well. What are some of the challenges you expect to face? Certainly one of the challenges will be with the whole digital space. There’s a lot happening in that world, and it’s really exciting to learn where that’s going and how to harness it. Audi is a progressive company, so we really want to be in the forefront with everything that we do, including our marketing and our product management. So we definitely want to make sure that we stay progressive. That’s what our customers expect. What did you do before you were with Audi? I actually did design work on locomotives. I was involved with many different aspects of that, from the design of the cab to make it quiet, all the way through to the design of the electric motors (which were powered by diesel generators). It’s interesting coming from there and now moving into the future where we have hybrids and other electric vehicles, so it’s a cool circle. No matter how removed that may seem from where I am today, there are some similarities. You must have felt very comfortable stepping into the Audi world. Absolutely. That’s the thing about Audi, being a very technologically based car company. Take a look at Audi Drive Select, which is the ability to adjust the overall driving dynamics of your car, such as your suspension, the engine response, your transmission shifts, steering feel and ratio—all at the push of a button. And it can be preprogrammed with three different settings or you can set your own individual setting. So it’s pretty cool. That’s just one example of a technology, but there are many more that really thrill me. You can put technology together, but how sophisticated it is and how seamlessly it’s integrated is extremely important, especially in this type of car. That’s what makes it an Audi. On the odd occasion that you need to talk to an Audi engineer, are they pleasantly surprised to see that you know what they’re talking about? I think it makes the conversation go a little smoother. They know they don’t need to do all of the background to bring me up to speed.
Why is marketing so important for an auto manufacturer? There is so much information in the world right now. You can look out the window here at Maple Leaf Square and see digital signs right there. There’s a lot of information to absorb no matter where you are. Without marketing your message about your car, you’ll never get it out. So, you really need to get your voice heard when you say, “We’ve got a great product. You haven’t looked down here yet to see how great our product is.” It’s about getting the right people to consider you as a brand to buy, so when they hear you, they’ll say, “You know what? That car is right for me.” So what do you have to do differently from other car companies to get that message across? Sometimes you may see our advertising taking on a personality of its own. We try to be true to the brand so you understand what we’re about—clean, simple lines, elegance and sophistication, but we can also poke fun at ourselves sometimes. So how do you use marketing to sell cars? Marketing in this perspective is about getting the word out on what Audi represents. Audi has a lot of great attributes in their cars—great driving dynamics, great look and feel of the car and how it’s all put together. There are many different ways you can get that word out. There’s traditional print media or television, but what I’m really focusing on now is experiential marketing. What we want to do is get people in the cars so they can experience it. 'Cause once you’re in the car, you’re going to say, “Wow, this is an Audi.” // Audi magazine / 037