Vive la République: Landor helps define profile of ideal French president

PARIS (28 April 2017) — One month before the first round of the French presidential election, which took place just a few days ago, five WPP firms—Landor, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Kantar Public, Kantar Media, and Kantar TNS—combined their expertise to conduct a study to define the profile of the ideal French president.

Based on the results of quantitative and qualitative research provided by Kantar Public, Landor defined the brand positioning of the ideal candidate by looking for the qualities and attributes that would most resonate with the French public. The goal was to determine the type of presidential brand that would be most successful in France.

Palais de l’Elysée; Ideal French President
Image courtesy of Flickr user Paul Beattie.

Following the first round of the French presidential elections, the study found the respondents to favor a protective, unifying president. These results closely mirror the actual outcome of the election thus far, which shows candidate Emmanuel Macron leading with nearly 24% percent of the French vote. In fact, Macron concluded his first presidential debate by stating, “France must offer a place to everyone,” echoing the idea expressed in the presidential positioning from the WPP study.

Making a president

To ensure that the study produced a strong analysis beyond the bounds of existing political information, Landor prototyped two distinct presidential brand profiles using its proprietary Brand Driver tool. Each profile articulated the presidential brand’s raison-d’être, promise to the public, and distinguishing beliefs.

Landor wrote manifestos corresponding to these profiles to represent the ideas and viewpoints each presidential brand would espouse. The manifestos were then used to evaluate how each positioning resonated with the expectations of the French people.

Each brand profile was tested through a survey of Kantar Public’s online community. Kantar Public moved beyond traditional research protocols by adapting the NeedScope model—previously used exclusively for brands in France—to build a platform subdivided into six archetypal positions associated with personalities and feelings. Applied to the field of political leadership and based on the responses of over 1,000 people aged 18+, the NeedScope model determined six profiles for the ideal French president: (1) the bearer of hope, (2) the entrepreneur, (3) the mobilizing leader, (4) the responsible, (5) the protector, (6) the unifier.

Ideal French President Profile Percentages

The results

Our findings showed that the majority of French people are looking for a president who provides a place for every person in today’s unstable world. Respondents expressed the wish for their leader to be capable of creating unity in a society perceived as more and more fragmented.

Ideal French President Infographic

Specifically, the French are looking for a president who is:

1. Capable of bringing France toward a unified future

Twenty-one percent of respondents favored a president who, first and foremost, ensures unity among French citizens. For these people, the ideal president must listen; success can be achieved only through collective action. In order to secure this union, two values were deemed most necessary: equality and fraternity. Besides being exemplary, this presidential profile suggests a leader who can enthusiastically carry France into the future, and whose main objective is fighting unemployment so everyone feels useful and fulfilled.

2. A responsible leader and strong decision maker

For 21 percent of respondents, the president of France must above all be a responsible and competent person capable of making fair decisions, even if they are difficult. These citizens want to be reassured by an expert leader whose actions demonstrate a mastery of complicated political situations. The responsible president should be a hard worker with concrete objectives against which the presidency and government can be judged.

3. Protective and empathetic

Eighteen percent of respondents would like a state of calm and security; they seek a president who can reassure and protect French citizens. To gain people’s trust, this candidate must be caring and benevolent, as well as transparent. As the bearer of hope, this ideal leader must listen and consider everyone fairly and equally.

Ideal French President Attributes and Behaviors

The study also showed French voters to be adverse to a daring or highly mobilizing president: Just 13 percent of respondents wanted to see an entrepreneurial president, while only 15 percent sought a bold leader that would move quickly and ambitiously to push legislation forward.

Concerned with solutions for combating the pessimistic French environment, a positive, sympathetic—even original—president may seeming attractive. But the study found this to be the least desirable presidential profile, with just 12 percent of the respondents preferring those attributes.

For further information or to obtain the full study in French, please contact:

Hanna Berthaut
+33 (0)1 53 34 32 52

About Landor

As a global leader in brand consulting and design, Landor helps clients create agile brands that thrive in today’s dynamic, disruptive marketplace. Our work enables top brands—from Barclays to BMW and Tide to Taj—to stand for something while never standing still.

Landor’s branding services include strategy and positioning, identity and design, motion graphics, brand architecture, prototyping, innovation, naming and verbal identity, research and analytics, environments and experiences, engagement and activation, and interactive and media design.

Founded by Walter Landor in 1941, Landor pioneered many of the research, design, and consulting methods that are now standard in the branding industry. Today, Landor has 25 offices in 19 countries, working with a broad spectrum of world-famous brands. Clients include Aeroflot, Bayer, BBC, BMW, BP, Citroën, Danone, Emaar, Etihad Airways, International Hotels Group, Procter & Gamble, Russian Copper Company, and Tata Group.

Landor is a member of WPP, the world’s largest marketing and communications firm. For more information, please visit and follow Landor on LinkedInFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Inc., is a leading international communications consulting firm. The company offers its services to local, multinational, and global companies. Based in New York, the company has 87 branches in 53 countries, as well as an extensive network of partners. The agency is part of WPP, one of the world’s leading communications services groups. For more information:

About Kantar Public

Throughout the world, Kantar Public works with its clients to improve public policy. In France, Kantar Public builds on the international experience of TNS Sofres, who for over five decades has served the public sector, public bodies, NGOs, universities, and large companies on their public policy issues, quality of public service, and public communication.

About Kantar TNS

Kantar TNS is a world leader in marketing research in more than 80 countries. Kantar TNS provides its clients with operational insights to help them make the best decisions and to accompany their growth strategies.

With more than 50 years of experience and study solutions in the disciplines of market understanding, innovation, brand management and communication, shopper activation, and client experience, Kantar TNS identifies, optimizes, and activates moments for growth.

About Kantar Media

Kantar Media is the leading player in media data and analysis. Throughout the world, it provides clients with the “media data” needed to make informed decisions in all areas of measurement, monitoring, and media strategies.

Participation in the “Ideal President” project: In the first approach, we measured the terms most associated with the different candidates in social conversations using the UBM index. This evaluation helped build the brand platform tested by the French.