Buisson has represented just about all top politicians and elected officials in Jefferson Parish which includes Parish Presidents and Parish Councilpersons. He has played a large role in the election of the current Kenner President, candidates and elected officials on the NorthShore of Lake Pontchartrain including St. Tammany Parish president. He has been involved with the media campaign for Steve Scalise, the third most powerful congressman in Washington DC.
So, on Saturday, I sat down with Buisson for an hour via media conference. I tried to understand the mechanics of the profession, the rapid changes being made in the industry due to social media and video technologies. I listened a few of personal reflections in his long career as a journalist and media advisor. My goal was to understand the election-media climate, the new technologies and the nuances within political campaigns.
During the first part of the interview, we discussed the basics. He explained to me the role of the media consultant, when that person get involved into a campaign, the types of media being utilized today and what features of his profession did he favor the most.
Below is a video of this part of the discussion. The interview was part of Bayoubuzz’s ElectionsWin.com webinar series on winning elections. After you read the below (or watch this short video segment), you can click here to watch the entire video interview which lasted approximately one hour.
SABLUDOWSKY: The role of, just in general if you know mind, the role of the say the media consultant--what is the role of media consultant?
BUISSON: Well I mean I think a really good media consultant is really focused on how do you image and message the candidate to the voting public in a way that it really really captures who that person really is. And, in addition to that, that you really aren't doing anything that would create a false image of that, of that candidate, because ultimately if the candidate can't live up to it, then that's something that the voters can see through. And ultimately the voters will not believe in that candidate. And so, I think a good imaging and good messaging is for the media consultant is to make sure that--you go in, you have a great understanding of who the candidate is, you know his history, you know his background, you know his philosophy, you know what the platform is, of the cabinet, what the issues are in the campaign and then you strategize at that point on what you want to reveal-- what are the high points that you want to reveal during the campaign.
SABLUDOWSKY: And what point of time does a candidate normally get the media consultant involved?
BUISSON: Well they should get a consultant involved from the very beginning of the campaign. Sometimes one of the common mistakes by candidates, especially new candidates, is that they believe that the second that they bring the media consultant on online, they're going to need to have all of the money that they need for the media buys, media purchases, everything that you need media wise in the campaign. and that's not true. you need the media consultant on early to begin strategize and help properly budget for what needs to be done in a campaign from a media standpoint.
The media is everything from direct mail, radio, television, digital and social like what we're doing. Right now in the digital end, making sure that you've got the right collateral materials, automated messaging, that goes out to to voters these days--any kinds of, any kinds of communication direct back-and-forth with the voter, from outdoor signs to what you see ultimately on the are the 10 o'clock news.
SABLUDOWSKY: So what part of that do you enjoy the most?
BUISSON: While I always enjoy the strategy the most. What's fun for us is is is really looking at every, every campaign is unique, every candidate is unique. The electorate has a great history to the, to the electorate on on voting patterns and an interest in certain elections, and so taking those different, the the voter history and the candidate's ability to really deliver a message, the strategy of that then looking at the other candidates in the race and where you think they're going to go, it's really the playbook before you actually get to the campaign and before you get to Election Day. So that's the most enjoyment enjoyment enjoyable part of it that I like. The other part is--as I just the power of a video the power of television and digital is so strong and I love the emotion building that that brings to something, and so if you could connect with someone emotionally, you can certainly make a big difference in that campaign. So, I do enjoy that very very much also.
SABLUDOWSKY: You mentioned digital, obviously that's close to my heart, I'm just wondering what role is digital playing in terms of media strategy and has it changed over time?
BUISSON: It it's in every campaign now. it's growing every day it's fast becoming a media part of the medium that you have to use that is considered a a "must use". it's stronger in some states than it is and others, as you would imagine as is computer use just in general. But but the reality of it is is that as I'm enjoying the success that we're getting off of a digital messaging in some of these campaigns because I'm seeing the numbers. And the good part is--is is--you can track things analytically as you well know, to really see who you're reaching and how many times you're reaching them, and what's the likelihood that that they're gonna vote ultimately. So it's very very good and it's becoming a much larger part of what we do everyday in our campaigns I'll tell you that.
So, what was discussed during the rest of the interview? For the next roughly forty-five minutes, our conversation ran the gamut. Here are just some of the issues discussed which you can watch upon subscription:
The role of digital media, exactly what might the candidate know about you, and how can they use this data during a campaign? Why are the types of digital media being used, how important is online video in winning an election? The impact of social media on our elections and what might our online browsing tell the candidate? How important is Big Data? How to use the collected information for voter targeting Is viewing voters by zip code relevant any longer? Is television still relevant, newspaper, direct mail? Why is video so important in a campaign How can the candidate, through the media consultant, get the information it wants covered to the media? How has his experience as a journalist and as station manager for WVUE helped prepare him for his current position of media consultancy Ways the media consultant and candidates can deal with the very short media cycles due to the proliferation of news shows and social media? What could destroy a candidate and media advisor? Issues candidates and media consultants have during the era of the “fake news” syndrome How news has evolved from pure news reporting to opinion Buying ads in the era of silo media Ways to deal with potential conflicts the consultant might have in representing two or more clients who are now competing against one another
And so much more..
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