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The Nine 2018: Dan Barron

Daniel Barron, HB Communications
Daniel Barron

Name: Dan Barron

Title: Head of Brand Strategy

Company: HB Communications

Location: North Haven, CT

Overtime: His focus on fitness and health means not just soccer, snowboarding, and working out, but also a new passion for tea. He helped with the logo and branding for a friend’s company, where he says the Chinese town the tea is sourced from sees people living to ages over 100. “That’s the goal,” he said. “I’m trying to snowboard at least at 85.”

Why You Need To Know Him: With a positive, energetic spirit that’s contagious and motivating, Barron is the literal personification of next-generation leadership at HB Communications. The company his grandfather Mackey founded in 1946, now led by his father Dana, has changed a lot since its first days, when it was known as HB Motion Pictures. And with ample new ideas firing through him at any given moment, Barron is clearly ready to keep that evolution moving forward. Using collaboration, marketing, and design skills he developed in various creative projects, from managing a hip-hop record label to turning a cheap Honda Civic into a Fast & Furious-worthy ride, he’s got big-picture plans tempered by a firm understanding of the intricate puzzle such plans need to thrive.

As HB prepares to unveil a newly redesigned headquarters—which he strategized, along with a campaign to promote it—Barron reflected on what it takes for both a company and its customers to be successful.

“It really does start with making sure that your internal culture is solidified before you go out and tell your story,” he said. “What we focused on for the last few years was looking at ourselves as a company, treating ourselves as a customer. Now, I’m excited to tell that story to customers and hopefully help influence a new way of looking at AV.”

Make Time For New Problems: It’s something we all know, but we don’t always truly acknowledge—if we don’t make a little time to allow for a creative spark, we may never hit upon that great new idea. Barron said that when people are treading water, simply trying to keep up with a backlog of work, it’s incredibly difficult to innovate.

“Anytime you’re dwelling in a state that is either stressful or overly repetitive, it’s hard to switch up your thinking,” he said. “The simple idea of going out and dedicating time to thinking about something new, all of a sudden your mind opens up a little bit and now you have the opportunity to think a little bit differently.”

Only Thing to Fear: Technology is changing at a lightning pace, but that’s not the biggest thing to worry about, said Barron. His philosophical bent inspires his advice for dealing with a rapidly changing industry: let go of the fear, and be excited about change.

Barron has a passion for fitness.

Barron has a passion for fitness.

“A lot of times people can recognize their own issues, but the hard part is making changes, even in our personal lives,” he said. “‘Here’s something I have to get better at!’ But how are you going to get better at it, and then do that? The how and do parts have been missing. It’s difficult for a lot of people in our industry—sometimes we’re more focused on the technical side of solution design, and it leaves behind opportunities for other ways of perceiving solution design.”

Reworking our thought process isn’t going to happen overnight, though, of course. “It’s not easy to shift the way we think about things, all that takes time,” he said. “I’m just trying to do my part and bring out what I think is helpful and useful.”

Get to know the rest of The Nine.

SCN's 2018 class of The Nine

SCN's 2018 class of The Nine (Image credit: Future)
Mary Bakija is a writer and editor with more than 15 years of storytelling experience. Bakija is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Library and Information Science to help others find and tell important stories that might otherwise be lost, and to ensure those stories are preserved for future generations to see.