Discover our new series IABC/Montréal: Member spotlight. Our members share their views on the most significant changes they see happening in the practice of communication and their impacts; they discuss trends that will continue to grow or will die off; they make suggestions on what communications professionals could do differently to be of best value to stakeholders; and they provide valuable advice to the new generation breaking into the communication industry today.
What do you find yourself spending most of your time doing in the sphere of communications these days?
I focus on corporate communications and advise internal clients and leaders on how to inform and engage effectively their stakeholders within the organization.
What are the biggest changes that you see in the practice of communications today?
The ever-growing use of social media continues to shape our practice and challenges us to improve our storytelling abilities. Attention span is short, people are on the go. We need to engage them wherever they are and with fewer words. This is true for customers, stakeholders and employees alike. More than ever, a picture is worth a thousand words!
In your opinion, what could we as communication professionals be doing differently to be of the most value to our stakeholders?
Be proactive, ahead of the curve and make sure we’re part of all strategic decisions. We work with most functions within an organization (marketing, sales, operations, legal, human resources), possess the internal insight needed combined with a sound knowledge of employees’, stakeholders’ and customers’ yearnings. Our unique 360º approach enables us to create significant links between business strategy and communication.
What is a trend or theme that you think will continue to grow, and/or what will die off?
There’s a definite lack of trust toward organizations and institutions alike. Although slightly on the rise since 2015, people’s trust in business, media and government is still in the 40–50% rate, according to Edelman Trust Barometer. Fake information burgeoning on social media or so-called news sites can only be countered by stronger ethics, transparency and accountability.
What is your advice for young people considering entering the field of communications today?
Keep an open mind, focus on learning and diversify your skills. A good understanding of the social and political context in which we live in, is as important as having pop culture knowledge to comprehend customers, employees and stakeholders.
Maxime Dupont-Demers is a senior advisor, Corporate Communications at SNC-Lavalin.