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Communicator of the Week: Emmanuel Macron

An outsider who went to France’s elite political finishing school. A man who built a grassroots movement without being a populist. Hailed for his meteoric rise, yet he used to be a minister in the government he has been running to replace. Blames deregulation for many of Europe’s ills but was an investment banker who earnt millions. Won a landslide, yet only 16 per cent of the electorate chose to vote for him because of his manifesto promises. A politician to unite a damaged country but 36 per cent of voters chose to abstain or spoil their ballots rather than vote for him.

Emmanuel Macron, France’s president-elect, is certainly an enigma. A man who has caught the world’s attention, and will be France’s youngest ever president, is deserving of respect as a communicator as much as anything else.

So how did he do it?

There are parallels between what he has achieved in the past year and the route many successful internet start-ups or web based businesses follow. 

He was able to validate whether his potential audience wanted his product, and also whether he was the right person to do it, through regular media appearances where he tried out his optimistic message even as France suffered awful terror attacks and a rise in Islamophobia. 

He was able to successfully answer the question, "What’s unique about you, and what are your unfair advantages?” I’d argue he did so in a disingenuous way positioning himself as an outsider when he had smoothly landed himself at the very centre of the political elite but then he also...

...found a niche - he established his "people-powered" En Marche! (On the move) movement recognising that France needed a game-changing political force. By branding it as a movement he attracted fans who he could mobilise to spread his message rather than merely attract potential voters. 

He developed a product and a brand that people (or at least enough people) wanted to be associated with, talk about, promote, consume at live TV rallies and, in some cases, love.

He built excitement around his brand and his product attracting young telegenic people as fans. He used these fans to do the work a large party machine would normally be tasked with during an election.

So all this, plus a sizeable slice of luck when others running met misfortunes, added up to something essential in a political campaign: momentum.

Emmanuel Macron: young, telegenic, establishment to his bones & says very little of substance very well. The 39 year old will be the next president of France because he approached a political campaign like he was building a successful start-up which is why he is my Communicator of the Week. 

Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.

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