In the Media

Image and Politics: What You See is What You Get

Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Julie-Anne Vien

  • IMG-Trudeau-Metro-Jarry

    (Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau Facebook page)

As she had done a few days before Canadians made their way to the urns, our colleague Julie-Anne Vien, NATIONAL Partner based in Quebec City, visited Radio-Canada’s Catherine Lachaussée the day after the Liberal win to talk about the undeniable value of image and perception in politics, such as was so masterfully proven by Justin Trudeau throughout the federal campaign.

On Monday night, the Prime Minister Elect focused on family values, even addressing his children directly in the last few minutes of his acceptance speech. “I found it so refreshing,” says Julie-Anne. “While showcasing all the humanity behind the politician, the speech also sent an interesting message: you can aspire to the highest positions of power and still look forward to playing with your son when you get home.” 

According to Julie-Anne, the reason why Trudeau’s focus on proximity, authenticity and inclusion worked so well is because he bet on who he truly is. “The key in communications is to have an image in line with who we are. In Justin Trudeau’s case this true nature was reflected in his tone, in his in way of speaking, in the way he takes the time to look at, listen to and engage with his audience. These indicators are in perfect harmony with the image he projects.”

If authenticity paid off for the young Liberal, its absence certainly harmed his Conservative opponent, whose efforts to loosen up late in the race seemed unnatural – and unconvincing. “Stephen Harper’s decision not to clearly announce his plans for the future on Monday night created somewhat of a discomfort. In accepting Canadians’ choice for change, he had the occasion to speak the truth to his supporters and decided against it.”

Canadians clearly opted for authenticity on Monday, and their desire for change and excitement toward the man who embodies it reminds us of Barack Obama’s first campaign in 2008. “Tuesday morning, Justin Trudeau was meeting and thanking his Papineau constituents in Montreal at Jarry metro station. What a great lesson for all politicians out there!”

This breath of fresh air and renewed energy will now have to extend to Trudeau’s team and the decisions he will make as Chief of State. Over the coming months, the Liberal leader will have to prove that people were right to trust him.

Click on the image below listen to the complete interview (in French).


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