France’s 2017 election cycle saw a revolution in how campaigns approached their digital & field strategy. Nearly every major campaign invested heavily in NationBuilder’s community organizing platform, and several effectively leveraged the latest best practices honed in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Among those candidates was former French Prime Minister and Mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppé, a member of Les Republicans and a major figure in French politics dating back to the 1970s. In a year that saw one political upset after another, Juppé lost the Republicans presidential primary election in November 2016, despite being widely favored by both polls and pundits. But before he did, he led a bold and innovative digital strategy — and we are proud to have been a part of it.
Starting in early 2015, we had the honor of designing & developing the website for Alain Juppé’s campaign for the presidency of France, and helping to advise his campaign team on their use of NationBuilder’s platform. This case study explores some of the more interesting aspects of that project, in the hopes that they may inspire you.
Bold Branding & Action-Oriented Design
Like their American counterparts in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Juppé campaign embraced the lessons learned from Barack Obama’s successful 2008 and 2012 campaigns — investing heavily in a digital strategy aimed to organize its supporters.
As a first step, the campaign worked with Acmé Paris to develop what I still believe to be among the best campaign logos we have ever had the pleasure of working with. Leveraging Juppé’s lifetime of experience and deep connections with the French people, the campaign’s brand confidently put his name forward and got directly to the point. Alain Juppé 2017 — or #AJ2017 for short.
In designing the campaign’s website, we were able to match their distinctive typography (fonts) perfectly, which created a sense of continuity between the campaign’s print and digital collateral. This was crucially important because it’s in digital, not print, that most voters had their first interaction with the campaign and the campaign knew it.
The website itself was designed from the ground up to encourage supporters to take action. Signup forms were prominently featured on every page (sometimes more than once), woven in and around the campaign’s storytelling, policy, and news-related content.
Joining a Committee
The Juppé campaign was organized around dozens of local campaign committees, spread throughout every corner or the French nation. So, a primary focus of the campaign’s website was to encourage supporters to find, join, and — if need be — create a local committee in their community.
We worked with the campaign’s in-house digital team to embed third-party maps into the site in order to extend NationBuilder’s functionality. The result was a functionally powerful illustration of the depth and breadth of the campaign.
Landing Pages for Supporter Acquisition
Modern digital campaigns are powered by the tried-and-true combination of effective digital ads and mobile-optimized landing pages. And while we were not involved in the campaign’s digital advertising strategy, we did create beautifully functional custom landing page templates.
These landing pages empowered the campaign’s digital team to move quickly at the speed of a campaign. New pages were created in just moments: the team just needed a photo and a snippet of text — no coding required.
Complete French-Language Translation
NationBuilder’s control panel has long been available in French, but its public themes remain English-only.
Of course, when campaigning for president of France it’s an absolute necessity that your website template is not only translated into French but that the translation is impeccable.
In the weeks ahead of the campaign’s launch, we worked exhaustively with Juppé’s campaign team to scour their every line of their website’s code to ensure it was thoroughly and accurately translated. The result was a website theme that was thoroughly, completely and authentically French.
We’re incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to bring our website design and NationBuilder experience to bear in support of Mr. Juppé’s campaign, and likewise of the work we did as part of that effort. While his campaign ultimately proved unsuccessful, we hope that it will inspire others to continue pushing the limits of what’s possible on NationBuilder’s platform.