Vlad Tausance , the coordinator of Klaus Iohannis’ online communication and image building strategy, explains the “recipe” that led to 1,000,000 likes on Facebook performance
The overwhelming victory by Klaus Iohannis at the Sunday elections was also determined by an excellent online communication and image building strategy that led to an unbelievable popularity of the ACL candidate who gained over one million likes on Facebook, exceeding other well-known European leaders, such as, by example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (over 900,000 likes), French president Francois Hollande (over 517,000) or British Premier David Cameron (411,000 likes).
Aged 35, Vlad Tausance, the coordinator of Klaus Iohannis’ online communication and image building strategy explains in an interview for blogger Andreea Vasile (www. andreeavasile.ro), the “recipe” he and his team had applied in order to achieve this outstanding record in a short time.“The strategy was clean and decent. We refused to embellish or to counterfeit the real person and to underestimate our audience. Instead, we tried to supply ammunition – texts, videos, photos, visual works – to our supporters and to encourage grass-roots initiatives”.
“Demographically, we focused on stimulating the massive potential in the attendance to voting: the public aged 18 to 35, living in cities; they represent precisely the native population of Facebook. My personal bet was to win over the influencers, to let them be exuberant, considering that we are working for an austere candidate. We had dozens of hours and of GB of personal research, associative opinion polls and questionnaires, we used plenty of A / B testing, we tested data warehouse solutions”, Tausance explained.
“The objectives were relatively simple; to win the first place online – over 1,000,000 likes and a reach of over 5,000,000 – and then to win the elections. We surpassed our objectives. We have more fans than Merkel and Hollande, the best engagement, but also videos with over one million visitors and 100,000 shares, which is better than Inna or Obama”, he added in the interview for Andreea Vasile, overtaken or quoted by most of the Romanian media.
Vlad Tausance revealed how he and his team had to adapt their plans and strategy to Iohannis’ defining personality traits. “If we take recipes into account, Klaus Iohannis is a political product that it difficult to promote online. He has no cat pictures – although he has about five living in his yard, he refuses to use his family in the campaign (although he has a marvelous and elegant wife), he refuses to share details of his personal life (although he loves cyclism and roses), he refrains his humour (although he has a classy sarcasm, specific for Sibiu) and he refuses to show his human side (although he is more of a human being than a politician). And you know what? All these recipes are bullshit. All we did was to be coherent in communicating his genuine personality. This man is a BMW in a market of second – hand Korean cars. Is silver gray boring? Are moderation and persistence defects? Is seriousness a handicap? Is decency that boring?” young Tausance, a specialist in online marketing counseling, a talented and a passionate designer and a creative and informative blogger with an experience of eight years asked.
“We had no posters’ group. We had no division of posters. We did not coordinate teams of acclaimers. We had a task force of precisely four admins and comment and message moderators who also shared messages. As well as a Facebook campaign manically calibrated on local micro-communities or interests. And on quality content”, Tausance confessed.
He also revealed that Monica Macovei’s exit in round I was the “tipping-point for mobilization. After the crapulence of the 4.5 per cent, the persons who had already entered the battle and the speed – influencers, KOls and communication Jedi – focused on the most plausible candidate. It was a transfer of fondness and a mobilization I was counting on. My mantra was #seeyouinroundtwo”, Vlad Tausance mentioned.
He wished to congratulate Monica Macovei’s online team who, after their candidate left the competition, had focused on supporting Iohannis online, but also to “thank her talibans that tacitly or visibly supported us”.
“I would like to mention a thing though: at their peak activity, they reached an engagement of 200,000 people and approximately 100,000 fans. We already had 400,000 fans and a secondary fan base of 600,000 persons, who interacted with our posts and articles, under the circumstances that we shared half of the material Macovei, Udrea or Ponta were sharing.”, Vlad added in his interview for Andreea Vasile.
“First of all, we had a candidate we trusted and he trusted us. It is hard to sell a brand you would not buy or a brand that despises you. We, just like Mr. Iohannis, were coherent, disciplined and punctual. We were an engine that worked according to plans, not according to emotions. We refused clichѐs or allegedly safe recipes – populisms, star endorsement, photo ops – and consolidated a coherent and atypical brand. Tactically, we broke norms working with professional photographers (thank you, Mugur Varzariu and Manole Sava), producing hundreds of dedicated visuals (big up, Argo Media) and direct home-edited video messages.
Moreover, we had straightforward communication with Mr. Iohannis, with prompt answers, an unbelievably constructive feedback, as well as complete independence to the rest of the campaign team. We were an isolated bunker to the rest of the Kiseleff headquarters”, the author of the online communication and image strategy that propelled Klaus Iohannis on the top position of the most popular political personalities online pointed out.
“And yes, we struggled until the last second. We had the force to react fast, we broadcasted live, we played the game until the end. When Ponta was posting dry campaign messages, we were broadcasting live from London and Torino, before news agencies. In the weekend of the elections, our reaction speed brought us over 200,000 fans. And a few per cent to the victory”, Vlad Tausance concluded.
As for Victor Ponta’s failure, Tausance thinks that PSD had lost with these crushing results due to their arrogance, due to lack of respect for the voters they initially owned, mathematically speaking. “PSD proved once more that they were nostalgically living in the 2000s, when the flour (as electoral bribe) and the threats still made a difference. When most Romanians had never left Romania’s territory and local barons violated the laws as they wanted to. It was not primarily the online that won the elections, but the mobility of the work force in the EU and beyond. There are four million Romanians who refused to be blackmailed and socially assisted, and left the country to work abroad. And they knew better. PSD ridiculed them by poorly organizing the voting, and pretended not to see them. They got angry. The online merely amplified the message. Too bad for PSD.”
“On our side of the barricade, we insisted to share positive messages, real content and direct communication. Romanians interacted online with a President that listened to them and answered them, with an honest brand that lacked arrogance. We were looking forward to this for about 60 years”, Tausance ended his confession to journalist Andreea Vasile.
Iohannis grateful to his fans: “You have made history”
“Over one million people are now with me on this page! I am overwhelmed, but very happy. Thank you very much. You are the ones that gave echo to my voice so strongly in recent months, you are the biggest community around a politician in Europe. You have made history! My beloved, now we are no longer just a community, but a team. We are a team of more than a million people united by faith, respect and their love for Romania!,” wrote Klaus Iohannis on his Facebook page to express his gratefulness for his fans.