Emcee for CONVERGENCE Summit 2020: Camie Melton Hanily, Director, Marketing and Communications, Hydraulics Business, Eaton; President, IABC Minnesota
Q: During your career, how have you changed your approach to your job in response to the rapid changes and shifts in the business environment?
A: I can’t remember the last time I was able to draft a marketing and communication plan at the beginning of the year and use it for even two quarters. I used to wonder if the plans missed the mark. But truth is, with today’s rapid pace of change – in market conditions, technology, customer expectations and communication practices – evolving our plans to ensure impact is key.
Q: How did starting your career as a television news reporter influence your storytelling?
A: Having the first chapter of my career in media was a fantastic way to lay a foundation of storytelling. It taught me how to find compelling stories, quickly write a concise, clear and visual message, then present it in an impactful manner. These are traits of any great communicator or marketer today.
Q: What new skills did you acquire along the way to keep pace with the rapid shifts in business?
A: I earned a master’s degree in communications to better understand the research behind communications and marketing. I’ve led communications teams in three industries to gain exposure to new communications techniques, viewpoints and approaches—each has its own tools, approach as well as strengths and weaknesses.
I maintain a strong network by involvement in professional associations, for example, being president of IABC Minnesota. By participating, I receive the opportunity to talk with marketing and communications colleagues at other leading companies. I hear what innovative approaches they’re using for meeting challenges and what strategies have been effective or ineffective. And I chose to get certified in change management due to the critical role communicators play in managing internal and external change.
Q: How do you stay motivated given the rapid pace of the work?
A: It’s helpful if you like a job that’s continually evolving! New work and change excites me. I’m fueled by opportunities to work with executives to identify and overcome their most important challenges, addressing them by developing impactful communications and marketing plans that advance organizational goals. I’m not saying change is always easy to navigate, but I’ve heard it said, “with change comes opportunity,” and I firmly believe it. It’s easier to navigate change when you’re focused on the opportunities it can provide for your organization.
Q: What do you view as the most important challenges to telling engaging stories?
A: Making time “to do it right”! As communicators, we know we should research audience insights to know the kinds of stories that influence them and do the proper planning up front. We know we should have clarity of audience needs, gain buy-in, and build advocates to counteract potential resistance. And there’s nothing better than having plans that ensure we’re properly measuring and reporting results and pausing to learn from them. In today’s fast-paced world, teams can too often skip the critical step of planning, and yet it’s even more important as we compete for mind share.
Q: What advice would you give to an entry level professional for developing cross-channel communication skills?
A: Be a good writer who knows how to tailor messages. I’ve worked with people who have other, more niche skills that are useful in particular situations or for certain channels, but writers…now, writers can do anything! With a foundation built on strong writing skills, you can tailor your message to connect effectively with different audience and channels. Communications managers and directors value team members who can be agile — writing a blog or social post one minute then a speech and a video script the next. You’ll always be needed!
Q: What are the reasons you would urge colleagues to attend CONVERGENCE Summit 2020?
A: It’s a great opportunity to ensure you stay on top of your game. We will hear about the most current trends and best practices in our field in a format that no magazine or blog can match. The Summit will help us gain more knowledge and build our professional network—both keys for career success. Also, it will provide an excellent opportunity to learn a lot without a big investment in time or money.
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
A: I’m a TEDx Minneapolis speaker coach. It’s enormously rewarding to help a person with an “idea worth sharing” find the most compelling way to present it. Impactful presenting is such an important skill. When done well, it can change minds and behavior.
Author: Irene Connors