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Emmanuel Macron's French election campaign ran like a startup by a startup

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by Startacus Admin

Reading between the lines from recent online news media coverage, it's fair to say that it was widely reported that Emmanuel Macron won the French election with a political party which acted much like a startup.

French Election

More so, it may have been the brand message that was positively pushed by Macron’s political party En Marche as part of their political campaign which won big last Sunday evening.

President elect Macron won the French election on Sunday with En Marche, a political party, which could be described as a startup - it's literally been around for months. However, in much of the media coverage building up to the election, the message was definitely widely shared that En Marche acted very much like a tech startup. But delve a little deeper, but not only will you find that En Marche acted like a startup, its political campaign was run by one too.  

The Guardian reported just over a month ago:

“Macron’s movement, En Marche! (On the Move), was created less than a year ago, initially as a door-to-door operation in which volunteers asked the public what was wrong with France. Free to join online, it has more than 230,000 members. It is run more like a tech startup than a classic political party and uses sophisticated digital systems to crunch election data and pinpoint target voters.”

The Guardian

‘Wooow - digital systems and data crunching - very tech startup’ I hear you say...

Then as highlighted by The Economist just a couple of weeks ago:

For months, his campaign has been low-cost, and sometimes chaotic. His headquarters, filled with young people in sweatshirts and take-away food boxeshas felt more like a startup than a slick political machine. Nevertheless, in the end he secured nearly as many votes as the Socialists and Republicans put together.

Angela Charlton, Associated Press, then penned an article titled Macron's startup-style campaign upends French expectations a day later, going on to write...Macron's startup-styled

Whether or not Emmanuel Macron wins the French presidency in next Sunday's runoff, he has already accomplished the unthinkable.That's thanks to an unorthodox, American-style grassroots campaign, which has harvested ideas from the left and the right, tossed them with a dose of startup culture and business school acumen and produced a political phenomenon.”

But maybe it’s no accident that much of the press appraised Macron’s campaign as being startup-like in terms of culture and message. Venture Beat ran an interesting article at the start of 2017 where they focused on the digital strategy and political campaign that Macron was utilising. It’s here that we learn that Macron’s political campaign itself was being run by “Europe’s first campaign startup” - Liegey Muller Pons.

Chris O'Brien of Venture Beat wrote:

Venture Beat

"To define that centre, and help him build a new political movement from scratch, Macron turned to Liegey Muller Pons, a Paris firm that bills itself as “Europe’s first campaign startup.” The firm was founded by threeLiegey Muller Pons young Parisians who met in the United States while volunteering for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008.

Impressed by the way Obama’s team leveraged deep data analysis to attract, organize, and motivate an army of volunteers, the firm is adapting those tactics for a country where politics and rules around privacy and data are very different. Now that Macron is officially running as an independent candidate in the May 2017 French presidential elections, he will need these digital tools to drive a groundswell of grassroots volunteers to have any hope of success.

“We don’t do digital consulting for how to use Facebook or Twitter,” said Guillaume Liegey, a firm co-founder. “We don’t do fundraising. What we really focus on is large-scale coordination of people on the ground. We like to describe what we do as combining data, digital and human.”

En Marche websiteSo there you have it. Whether it was a conscious brand message which was pushed by the Macron political campaign team, or simply the fact that the media picked up the association with Liegey Muller Pons and the startup branding stuck - it’s fair to say that both Macron and the campaign team that represented En Marche, were boosted somewhat with the subtle association.

Certainly a tad more subtle than the “Strong and Stable” rhetoric which has been repeated ad infinitum recently!!

Congrats Liegey Muller Pons, as the self-acclaimed European ‘campaign’ startup, you’ve a pretty fab success story to add to your portfolio!

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Published on: 11th May 2017

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