The agency, however, is not entirely new to handling crises. They were the ones managing Chennai Metro Water’s social media handle last year during the drought.

Corporation workers standing with social distancing going about their work(Image for representation)
news Coronavirus Friday, July 31, 2020 - 08:35

Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) recently brought out a newsletter titled ‘The Chennai’ that was focused on latest happenings and highlights the work done by the civic body with respect to tackling the spread of the pandemic. It begins on a positive note that 436 patients from Chennai, who are over the age of 80, have recovered from COVID-19 so far. Earlier this month, GCC’s Twitter handle reached 100K followers, a feat that has been achieved organically. A small team of less than 25 is behind the popularity of GCC’s social media handle.

Since March this year, a private Public Relations (PR) agency from Chennai called Zth Orbit has been managing GCC’s social media handles. Chennai Corporation’s social media page is filled with graphics on the precautions to take, important information such as helpline numbers, protocols to follow, etc. too are posted daily. During the initial days of the outbreak of the virus in the state, GCC’s social media page shared plenty of reading material on personal hygiene and on how to stay safe. The fact that Chennai has been successfully maintaining the plateauing of its COVID-19 curve can be attributed to the government’s multi-pronged approach to strengthen its communication channels, outreach, testing, etc.

The newsletter is part of their communication strategy and carries details on the fever clinics, important contact numbers and a wrap of all the important milestones achieved by Chennai Corporation’s workforce in July 2020. This latest newsletter gained good encouragement from many, with Deputy Regional Commissioner (Chennai - South), Dr Alby John sharing it on his social media page.

“We’re a very small team of about 25, a mix of journalists, filmmakers, media producers, PR strategists,” shares Thirunavukarasu (Thiru), its co-founder. “We’ve made it very presentable, concentrating more on designs. The newsletter was an idea that we pitched to the Commissioner of Health. He was very welcoming of the idea,” adds Dr Aravind Kumar who is the creative head at Zth Orbit.

From daily statistics on COVID-19 presented in easily understandable graphics, the team has been making sure right information is made available to everyone on GCC’s social media channels. “Within a short duration, Chennai Corp has gained a good audience. We’ve received more than 10 crore impressions so far and this is a big milestone for us,” Thiru explains.

“People should be able to understand the data that’s being shared and we want authentic information to reach people. We are in the age of fake news. But when the government agency takes responsibility to disseminate authentic information, more people should join in sharing the information. Each and every one of us is an integral part of the system,” Dr Kumar says.

The two also add that Chennai Corporation is among the very few government agencies to have an active social media account that focuses on keeping people informed. “Not many metropolitan cities are doing such massive Information, Education, Communication (IEC) in the entire country,” Thiru says, adding, “The newsletter is unprecedented and we wanted to create a connect with people. We will continue to stay transparent with them presenting newsletters on GCC’s website on a monthly or a bimonthly basis.”

The agency, though, is not entirely new to handling crises. They were the ones behind Chennai Metro Water’s social media handle last year during the drought. 

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