After a year in which the internet turned global politics upside down, Emmanuel Macron is trying to use it to strike a new political balance in France.
The former Minister of the Economy quit the Socialist government in August several months after founding a new political organization, En Marche! (“On the march!” or “Working!”), complete with Yahoo-style exclamation point. Macron believes there is a political center in France that is not being represented by the traditional left-right parties.
To define that center, 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 three 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 cofounder. “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.”