Daniel Séguin has wound his way through some of the biggest communications revolutions during his 30-plus year career.
The rise of the personal computer. The invention of the internet. The flourishing of social media.
But the Manager, Media and Public Affairs at Hydro Ottawa, has done more than survive.
He’s thrived – thanks to his embrace of change.
“Comms is all about change. It’s as simple as that,” says Séguin. “You’re an agent of change management. And you need to promote that. If you are conservative in any way, shape or form, then you’re going to have a tough time in comms.”
Séguin’s current position is the culmination of a decades-long career. He’s held jobs with the federal government and earned diplomas in commercial art from Algonquin College and commercial photography from the New York Institute of Photography.
In 2014 – when he first started at Hydro Ottawa – he joined IABC, which he says provides a “great opportunity” for communicators to share solutions.
“When I look at my biggest challenges it’s been adapting,” says Séguin.
“I’m like the chameleon,” he adds.
Séguin feels his attitude towards change has served him well in putting his personal stamp on Hydro Ottawa’s communications efforts.
That organization’s leadership challenged him to come up with a “best-in-class” social media plan. Séguin responded by building a strategy that is as much about engagement as followers.
That’s why a big focus is on the conversation that a given Facebook post, Tweet or Instagram post creates. How long consumers view a video is a key metric, for example.
Videos are also big. Back in 2010, Séguin says, Hydro Ottawa had created only around 10 or so videos. The most popular only received around 150 or so views.
Séguin changed that. In 2016 alone Hydro Ottawa produced 60 videos, with 80,000 or so views for many.
But with this embrace of change comes a big risk: How does he sort out the “next big thing” from the fads?
“It all comes down to the customer,” he says.
If a new technology doesn’t help you to better serve your customer, he says, it needs to be tossed.
“Whatever field you’re in or you would like to be in, you need to understand it,” he says. “That’s one of the biggest weaknesses from a lot of people, I find. A lot of people take it as a job and don’t fully understand the scope of their environment.”
This philosophy has played a big role in guiding Hydro Ottawa’s content marketing efforts. This includes videos explaining how people should prepare for power outages and other content on what goes into restoring people’s power.
“The big drawback right now within comms I think is that people, though they say they are proactive, they’re actually reactive,” he says. “They see something on Twitter and they’re actually reacting to it. But a lot of times if you’ve done your homework, you know this is coming.”
Embracing change is just one key pillar for communicators who want to advance their careers, says Séguin. He also recommends working on your personal brand – an area where the events IABC Ottawa hosts can be a big help.
“Those are great places to meet people and you get to figure out how to position your personal brand on the market,” says Séguin. “And that’s where I think a lot of people lack today.”
Connect with Dan Séguin on LinkedIn.
For more information on joining IABC Ottawa, click here!