Client Spotlight with Anthony Samama, Nicolas Sarkozy Campaign

February 21, 2017 - 13 minutes read

This client spotlight features Anthony Samama; Digital and Innovation Manager for the Nicolas Sarkozy presidential primary campaign. Anthony talks to CallHub about his campaign strategy, challenges faced and lessons learnt on the campaign trail.


Anthony Samama (second from left) with NouS les Jeunes volunteers

About Anthony

Born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, Anthony has always harboured a love for politics. He recalls how he stood shocked on the streets of Paris as a 11 year old when veteran far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was voted through to the second round of presidential elections in 2002.

“I was 11 and understood for the first time the value of politics.”

Five years later, he would find a leader who echoed his ideals for France.

“Then in 2007, when Nicolas Sarkozy was elected, I was 16 and was impressed by the way he was revolutionising politics. It was a great moment of fervour for me and I understood at that moment that I wanted to join politics.” says Anthony, “That’s why when he came back to politics in 2015, I was keen on joining him and honoured to work for him.”

Campaign Strategy

The campaign strategy for the Digital and Innovation team involved embracing new technology to bind together three main elements of the campaign

  • NouS les Jeunes : Program to engage with the youth of France
  • Targeted voter outreach
  • Distributed volunteers

NouS les Jeunes or We The Young

NouS Les Jeunes or We The Young is a program for the youth of France to vocally go out and support Nicolas Sarkozy. It helped bring together youngsters from all around France in support of Nicolas Sarkozy. The movement with more than 12,000 followers on Facebook and 8000 Twitter followers, brought Millennials and Generation Z into the fold of campaigning.

It also gave the campaign a large influx of volunteers for its phone banking efforts. Students from across France could sign up and start calling voters.

“We had young people from NouS les Jeunes, 16-25 years olds who were making calls. We had no trouble with them because it was easy for them to use CallHub.

The campaign leveraged this familiarity by delegating social media outreach and other digital efforts to NouS les Jeunes volunteers. Constituencies across France were split between volunteers who assumed charge of outreach for that region.

Targeted Canvassing

While Facebook and Twitter still remain the juggernauts, retaining more than 50% of social media usage in France, new media such as Instagram and Snapchat are steadily gaining ground.

“Facebook and Twitter were our main tools but we also tried to implement some new tools like Snapchat or Instagram to reach out to and target younger people. It was quite useful in reaching out to people who are not really interested in politics or who are not really involved in the primary campaign.”

The team also developed the Knockin app to help door-to-door campaigners with targeted canvassing. The app cross checks public data at the campaigns disposal (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yellow Pages, electoral lists) to geolocate supporters and aid campaigners in reaching out to the right people.

“Knockin allows us to hit 500 truly targeted gates rather than 5,000 that would be of no interest to us.” said Axel Calandre, innovation advisor of Nicolas Sarkozy, to Mashable FR.

Distributed Campaigning

Anthony and his team decided to run a distributed campaign for door-to-door canvassing as well as phone banking. Campaign responsibilities were delegated to managers spread across multiple regions. These managers would then take charge of the campaigning for that particular area. The campaigns were set up and funded centrally but with local offices running the calling campaigns. This let them connect volunteers to locals from the same area; improving the quality of conversations. CallHub let them create multiple team based phone banking campaigns with geographically defined teams.

“We wanted to have a system based on two kind of campaigns. The first one is the national campaign where calls would be made by every one in every place in France and the second one would be regional campaigns, because we found that people were happier to call other people who were around them, in the department or in the region.”


Scaling Up Volunteer Recruitment

“We wanted all the people who are coming onto the website to have access as immediate as possible to CallHub.” says Anthony voicing the importance of quickly converting passive visitors into active volunteers.

And that’s exactly what Anthony and his team achieved using Sign-Up forms that integrated with the CallHub platform. Supporters who signed up on the website were automatically added as agents into CallHub, enabling them to start making calls immediately after form submission.

Segmenting Campaign Outreach

To help Anthony out with segmenting his campaign outreach across France, we developed the Teams For Volunteer Management feature.

Before its implementation, volunteers were all part of one central campaign, making targeted outreach a difficult and cumbersome process. Teams For Volunteer Management allowed the Les Republicans to create targeted Phone banking campaigns with options for unlimited teams, agent allocation to multiple teams and assigning whole teams to campaigns in place of manually selected volunteers. A modified Sign-Up form on the campaign website facilitated the distributed campaign strategy by allowing volunteers to choose and automatically get added to any of 13 regional campaigns across France.

Tracking Campaign Progress

Running a campaign involves dealing with millions of data points from hundreds of metrics being tracked. All this data needs to coalesce into a unifying strategy for the campaign to succeed.

“On CallHub we were looking at all the metrics in the analytics part.” says Anthony about how his team used CallHub Analytics.

That includes thousands of calls made, messages sent, agent details, call duration, calling frequency, agent recruitment; all analysed and categorised to help the campaign team make better decisions. And they did. Anthony tells us how the campaign compared monthly, weekly and daily statistical reports to optimise his campaign strategy,

“We compared information from every month and every week and every day to see if we are improving or if we did better the previous week, previous day or previous month. So it was quite interesting to see the graphs and see if our strategy was working, and I guess it was because it was improving day by day.”

Lessons Learnt

Scaling With Security

Anthony and his team initially adopted an open system for volunteer recruitment through an integration between web forms and CallHub. But although the open system enabled the campaign to rapidly scale up outreach operations, the quality of conversations declined. The open system meant that any person could volunteer irrespective of their ability to phone bank.

This left the campaign with two choices,

  1. Close the system which would scale down volunteer recruitment but in turn give more control over to the manager.
  2. Leave the system open for a healthy inflow of volunteers but risk the chance of unvetted volunteers.

The campaign decided to implement stricter vetting by closing the system and manually vetting each sign-up before allocating them to the campaign. The people who filled in the sign-up form were contacted by volunteers to ascertain their credibility. Once the profiles were cleared, they were sent log-in details to CallHub agent accounts through email.

Lesson Learnt

While an open system is still a priority to drive large volunteer sign-ups for political campaigns, an ideal system should implement more granular controls over individual agents for campaign managers.

Present solution?

Campaign managers can choose to add new agents to a sample campaign where they will undergo training on outreach and then move them to the primary campaign once they’ve been verified.

Simple User Interface

“They did not know how to download Google Chrome, how to copy-paste a link that we sent them in the mail — some very basic issues, you know; steps which seem very natural for us.”

Anthony talks about the difficulty his team faced with older volunteers who are unfamiliar with new technology. He filled us in on how a campaign could be made more accessible for the older demographic, while still using technology.

“My advice would be to elaborate the process very precisely and tell them exactly what to do. Don’t assume that they’ll know how to do a copy-paste.”

“Be as precise as possible with all the steps and reduce the steps as much as possible from when volunteers come on the website to making a call. Few steps as possible, as precise as possible.”

Lessons Learnt

  1. Test use cases across multiple demographics when developing your product
  2. Never assume your customers know what you know about using the product
  3. Make every step simple and precise
  4. Cut down on number of steps to achieve an action

What To Love

We asked Anthony what he loved about CallHub and this is what he had to say,

“What I really enjoyed was the relation we had. Every time anything had to be improved, we had a great correspondence with the CallHub team and they were very reactive; so every time we felt there was need to improve the tool to change something, they developed it quite quickly. It was very interesting, very stimulating, because we could go further every time we had what appeared to be an issue about CallHub.”

We’ll be coming out with more client spotlights in the coming weeks with more insights into election campaigns around the world. Subscribe to the CallHub blog for updates.

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