5 minutes with Mark Bustard


Meet our head of fan engagement

Describe your career in 5 words
Creativity. Teamwork. Hard work. Fun!
What is your view of the live events industry as it stands now and what does the future hold?
There are more agencies, specifically in sports and entertainment than ever before, which feels indicative of the increasing value of events and live experiences within the marketing mix and the ambitions of brands, rights holders and event organisers to connect with fans through live experiences.  It feels like an exciting time. I believe that the integration of live experiences with wider fan engagement programmes, including comms, digital and analytics will be at the forefront and support continued growth.
You previously worked as show producer of the London New Year’s Eve Fireworks, what did you learn whilst working on high profile events such as these and how has this stood you in good stead for your current role? 
I’ve been very fortunate to work on a number of large-scale high profile events, including London New Year’s Eve, and have learnt a great deal from them.  Working with agencies with longstanding experience, who fully understand the scope of work and are confident delivering high profile events in public spaces, and as part of a multi-agency team including the wider stakeholder environment that’s part and parcel of large scale public events has been an amazing learning experience.  I think these type of events give you a real sense of what’s possible when people have a shared vision and work together to realise an ambition.  

Pushing the boundaries creatively has always been important to me and is central to large scale events, especially those held annually.  As a team, trying to challenge ourselves creatively and make each show better than the last has been hugely enjoyable.  I don’t think creativity, in this or any other instance, has to be complex or involve the latest technology but having a good, simple, easy to understand idea that people can connect with is key.  I’ve been very lucky to work with a number of inspiring artists and creatives, all of whom bring something different and have helped shape how I approach projects creatively.   
Understanding organisation and having a robust project plan is always important and the larger complex projects are great opportunities to develop best practice that you can draw from. It feels like timelines get shorter, projects confirm later and become more complex, which increases the need for rock solid project planning, agreed procedures, roles and responsibilities.  As much as this isn’t the glamorous part of a project as a Creative Producer, it’s always been a bedrock for me. I don’t think you can push an idea unless you know how to deliver it, fully embrace the details and understand where the boundaries are.  Aligned to this is resource planning and having the right team, both in terms of experience, skills and capacity. That is critical.  Again I’ve been unbelievably lucky in this respect and have worked with some amazingly talented and hard working people who have inspired me to raise my game and play my part.

To answer the last point of how this relates to CSM, and how we can both learn from these experiences and capitalise upon them. I believe that the resources available here, across Brands, Rights and Live, including owning the means of production, are a key differentiator. They give us a level of depth that means you can really push boundaries and genuinely offer a deeper level of fan engagement, whatever the scale or profile. Being able to connect directly within one company across strategy and planning through to production delivery in-house allows rapid development aligned to a level of accuracy and standard of service I can’t see elsewhere. 
Fan engagement through live experiences is a hot topic at the moment, how are you driving this agenda for CSM both with clients and future clients?
I’ve been in the company under six months and during this time have spoken to a wider range of brands, teams and rights holders than ever before, on every continent and in a multitude of sports. Our connection to sport as a business is phenomenal and offers a richness of insight and expertise that’s truly unique.  The ability to draw upon this depth of experience in fan engagement worldwide allows us to offer something entirely new to brands, rights holders and teams, providing connections, drawing parallels and developing integrated programming that can be measured and evaluated. It’s still very early days but I would expect integrated fan engagement, consultancy, programming and delivery to become an increasingly central part of our offer and important to our clients, both existing and new going forward.
When not at work, what would we find you doing?
I absolutely love spending time at home with my family, relaxing and increasing watching a wide variety of sport.