Big data and politics: how to run the 2.0 election campaign

campagna elettorale big data

From French presidential campaign, the political marketing experience to win the elections

The english version of “Big data e politica: come si gioca la campagna elettorale 2.0”

What turns a candidate in the ‘winning candidate’?

In the recipe for a good election campaign, there are many ingredients that contribute to make it a good election project: the candidate’s charm and leadership, the public opinion’s support and the political participation. All these elements together constitute the political communication and, if managed in a strategical and structured way, allow the candidate to join in the political debate and to achieve a good election result.
In the political context, communication plays an essential role and communication ability is the principle element in the race for chair. But political communication need to be able to adapt itself to the society of which it is going to integrate to and evolve in at the same time.

What are we talking about?

Big data in politics collect public data about citizens providing to politicians important information about the electors: thanks to marketing and profiling abilities, the politician succeeds in crossing information and values useful to conduct and to steer his own campaign. Identification in order to succeed in communicating and interacting with his own direct elector through micro-targeting activities. An opportunity for the candidates to create and organize a real data-base of their own electors, digitalizing in this way the political communication.
Today political communication changed and the instruments available to the candidates evolved. And in this context, another element takes place in order to make an election campaign the ‘winner one’: Big Data.
Who doesn’t remember the Obama’s campaign? While in Italy we tested the 5 stars clickattivism, overseas big data were already used and ensured to Obama his second mandate in 2012 in the spirit of the Washington Post’s slogan “The Big Data President”.

But, how we can do this?

All of this is possible through software that collect and organize data for the election strategy, instruments that are essential for who works behind the scenes in headquarters of the election campaigns and for who manages the permanent political communication during the mandate. Web 2.0 plays its role in this strategy: data software manages the communication by email, SMS and especially through the social media. In just one word: connection. Of all the candidate’s data, of election data and all the data sended and received by e-mail, web site and social media. Therefore, these instruments open new opportunities to candidates. From data digitalisation to the face-to-face with the elector. From the listening to the direct interaction through the locally meetings.

Who is there behind all of this?

The US experience on big data was exported also in Europe. And in France the French presidential election in 2017 and the next legislative election campaigns were played in the headquarters of the start-ups which developed these kinds of software.
DigitaleBox is one the first start-ups that developed a communication politique software, a political marketing instrument to mobilise the electors and encourage the political participation at more levels. An instrument “that matches the elected candidate’s needs, respecting the budget decided upon” – explains the DigitaleBox executive director, Vincent Moncenis.
Launched in 2013, DigitaleBox is the French competitor of the US companies affirmed in the same sector and it is already firmly placed in the French political market, as well as in European and international ones. Already used in Belgium, Great Britain (and soon in Italy), but also in Africa and Canada, DigitaleBox allows the candidate to carry out an election campaign by using data base, as well as it allows him to orient his political communication and to organise the online citizens community. A simple interfaced tool that allows to extrapolate likes and followers and insert them in the own personal candidate data base. But it’s also an online content management tool, able to analyse the own electorate and encourage participation in the public debate (online and offline), as well as to interact by sending email, SMS o call to action to the events. Information shared voluntarily by the citizens on the candidate web site can be crossed by the software with the electoral roll. The final aim? Send the right message to the right person, making in this way, the candidate to be the own medium of his message.
Then, DigitaleBox shows up as a Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool – where, in this case, the client is the elector citizen – with the mission to “democratise the communities’ organisation systems”, as we can read in the start-up’s mission.

And what about the privacy?

As opposed to the overseas competitor, DigitaleBox works respecting the EU legislation about privacy and sensitive data. Compared to the US one, in the European Union legislation there are indeed regulations more restrictive about the privacy. That’s why in France (and in Europe in general) it’s not possible to reach the individual, but the analysis is carried out on area, using for example last rounds of elections and the demographic data as well as the ones of census.
DigitaleBox is used in France by around 200 candidates elected between local, departmental and parliamentary councillors, instead in the last presidential and legislative elections it was used respectively by 4 and 150 candidates.
Therefore, this Big data software is an instrument that changes the rules of the game. A new way to do campaigning that is not just based on the idea that exclusively the candidate’s image is enough, but also the idea that data and numbers do their part in the election game. A platform that support the candidate for his own election plan and encourages the political participation. Maybe for the next Italian political elections the “scrapping” would start exactly by here: from technology and big data.

#compol #politicalcommunication #politicalmarketing



Elania Zito
Elania Zito

Sono Elania e sono una Digital Communication & PR Strategist. Sono specializzata in comunicazione e linguaggi, in particolare in comunicazione europea e integrazione europea. Racconto l’Europa fuori dalla bolla con la mia newsletter Bubble e il podcast settimanale UEcup!, ho un Dottorato di Ricerca in Studi Politici e lavoro principalmente con Bruxelles. Ho scritto “La comunicazione politica in Italia” e un saggio sulla leadership di Mario Draghi.

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