By February 22, 2012 3 Comments Read More →

Brad Lavigne on transforming political communication and outreach

CPRS Ottawa is hosting the 2012 Take the Leap… From Good to Great! Forum on February 29. I’ll be blogging during the event with a particular interest in the presentations by Brad Lavigne and Dmitri Soudas.

Brad has been instrumental in the transformation of the NDP party. I spoke with him earlier today about the role digital played in last year’s federal election, how he sees digital impacting the party’s ongoing communications and outreach activities, and marketing political parties through their leaders.

Listen to the podcast to hear excerpts of our conversation.

I’ve included the videos mentioned in the conversation here. Brad’s official bio appears below.

Brad was the New Democratic National Campaign Director for the May 2011 federal general election that resulted in the Party’s best election result in its 50 year history, gaining over 4.5 million votes and 103 seats, making the New Democratic Party Canada’s Official Opposition. Between 2008 and 2011 Brad served as National Director of the NDP, overseeing the political and administrative operations of the federal party. From 2006 to 2009 Brad served as Director of Strategic Communications for the Hon. Jack Layton and from 2003 to 2006 Director of Communications for the Party. For years Brad has been a regular columnist for the Hill Times Newspaper and a regular panelist on both CBC Newsworld and CTV News Channel. Prior to his assignments with the federal party, Brad worked for the New Democrat government in British Columbia. Between 1998 and 2001 Brad worked as an advisor in the Premier’s Office as well as an Assistant to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Advanced Education, Training & Technology.


About the Author:

Mark Blevis is a digital public affairs strategist and President of, an integrated digital communications, public affairs and research company. His work focuses on the role of digital tools and culture on issues and reputation management. He also leads research into how Canadian opinions are shaped through online content and interactions.
  • Liam Duff

    Great interview Mark.

    Few things i’d like to add in that I think having an online presence or brand should be standard for politicians today. In a field where I consistently hear about the lack of engagement among the youth I think that staffers & politicians should make politics as accessible as possible, and that’s through social media. 

    I also don’t think that talking about your “product” doesn’t resound as well in politics, I believe that every politician and party has an audience by the nature of their profession and that if they want to showcase what that particular politician is doing then the fastest and cheapest medium is the internet. Thats not to advocate a magic bullet strategy but I do once again think that social media marketing should become a mainstay of political strategy. 

    Other advertisers are switching their funding to the internet and it wont be long until today’s connected students (my generation) – the millennial’s - are older and in that key voting demographic. Parties need to get all the kinks out of their online branding now before it becomes a necessity

    I do however think that his idea’s about peer to peer and getting influential individuals to talk to their network is invaluable. 

    all in all I think that it goes without saying that Brad Lavigne did some amazing work for the NDP during the last election and glad you got a chance to speak to him, wish I could have attended the conference!

  • Mark

    Thanks, Liam. And, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    I agree that social media is a great channel over which politics can be made as accessible as possible. However, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Addressing issues that matter to the various interest groups and speaking with (not *to*) the public over social media is imperative. There needs to be a resonance. That isn’t possible by doing old things in new places.

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