If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or Harry Potter, you might want to head over to the Bengaluru Police’s social media accounts.
Two months ago, Bengaluru-based marketing startup Crowd Kart took over the city police’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Business partners Chethan Hiremath and Deeraj Gowda, both in their 20s and the co-founders of the five-month old company, initially worked with pubs and restaurant. But their “big break” arrived when the Bengaluru Police outsourced the design and content of its social media presence to them, Chethan tells The News Minute.
“We pitched that there’s a better way to put things across,” said Chethan, explaining their effort to change the perception of the police in the minds of city residents, making them look more approachable.
And though it’s only been a few weeks, their work has not gone unnoticed.
A post from Tuesday starring actor Kit Harington as Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow has since garnered almost 7,000 likes and more than 1,000 shares. Sharp-eyed fans also noticed a popular GoT theory emblazoned on Snow’s helmet.
The message behind the post was loud and clear – wear a helmet and stay safe on the road. But with the new season of Games of Thrones premiering in July, the show gave them a way to educate the public with an image that would stick.
“The idea was to grab their attention first. The first thing they see is Jon Snow wearing a helmet.”
Crowd Kart analysed the Bengaluru police’s social media accounts and found they had a significant audience between the ages of 18 and 30. The startup decided to capitalise on that age group with well-known pop culture references, Chethan says.
Recent posts feature memes with captions that discuss violations, such as drunk driving or driving without a helmet. While Crowd Kart focuses on design and content, they work closely with the Bengaluru police’s in-house social media team, which keeps them informed on crimes and public service announcements that need to be shared.
Every single post, including the language used, is approved by the police department before publication, Chethan says. They also regularly speak to DCP Nagendra and the Commissioner Praveen Sood on their work, he adds.
When they aren’t referencing wizards and Westeros, posts are often filled with puns and blurred photos of suspects.
“This notorious gang were wanted in several robbery cases. Its[sic] safe to say, better SLATE than never,” according to a post from May 3.
Though they’ve seen recent success, Chethan says they’re still cautious about the language they use, and steer clear of views on race or religion. “As long as we don’t offend anyone,” he explains.
Asked if some of their posts have been insensitive, Chethan says they were still in an experimental phase and they’re taking time to understand the audience that Bengaluru police has built over the last four years.
Chethan, Deeraj and their team are currently working on producing informative videos that talk about traffic violations and the inner workings of the police department. They’re also hoping to eventually create a Snapchat account for the police department. “We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve.”