In the early morning of October 20, 2015, many people were astonished by the success of Justin Trudeau’s campaign in Québec. Would it not be interesting if you could replicate such a victory within your organisation? In my opinion, there is a parallel to draw between this political achievement and businesses operating in Québec.
For two years, I had the opportunity to act as director of communications with Mr. Trudeau’s team, a team that gained the trust of so many Quebeckers. As co-chairperson of a communications committee devoted to Québec, I worked with most of the candidates, 40 of whom were elected. We would need to travel back to 1980 to witness such a major win by the federal Liberals in Québec.
In his book entitled Cracking the Québec Code, well-known pollster Jean-Marc Léger together with Jacques Nantel and Pierre Duhamel wrote, “Out of the 50 attitudes and behaviours we assessed, 71% of them were similar to [those of the rest of Canada]. …But it is the remaining 29% that makes all the difference” For the past 14 years, I have been advising company leaders and public decision makers on the importance of taking this nuance into account. The following provides three key elements that demonstrate how this particularity of the Québec market was considered in the actions taken during the pre-election period.
Firstly, the team chose to maintain regular contact with candidates. Consequently, the candidates acted as a direct and two-way transmission channel that could be accessed by voters across the province. This type of localised approach to communication, applicable to any organisation, can serve as a means to become known as well as truly understanding and distinguishing the needs of the target client. Geo-targeted digital media is an essential element to achieve this. The reach of such a tool is non-negligible and if the publication is interesting, can be shared by several users.
Secondly, the team ensured to adapt communications to make them relevant and impactful for Quebeckers. When preparing for meetings with the press or a debate between candidates, there was always a systematic time of reflection to ensure the information provided was not a mere translation. Companies should adopt the same approach, whether it be for the selection of a spokesperson or for media relations. Quebeckers quickly notice word-for-word translations from English that do not reflect their concerns or their reality, and subsequently will not buy into it.
Finally, Québec campaign posters and advertising were created by a very talented team of locals based on empirical research conducted by the Liberal Party of Canada, whose members wanted to transcend Quebeckers’ concerns. Investing in research is a must for any organisation looking to properly assess their clientele and implement effective marketing strategies that will retain their target audience’s attention.
Making notable efforts to adapt to Québec’s characteristics and hiring teams that are well versed in Québec’s realities were key elements to the Liberal Party of Canada’s success during the last federal election campaign. These same principals are readily available and can be applied by private and public organisations wishing to do business in La Belle Province.