Chirag Patnaik is a multi-disciplinary expert with cross-functional expertise in marketing, communications and technology. After gaining 17 years of experience in the corporate sector, Chirag Patnaik headed operations for the Indian National Congress’s Social Media team for three years in the run up and post the Lok Sabha elections, where he ran both social media and technology operations for it.
While Chirag was trying to seek a meeting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, which materialized in March 2017 and he had the opportunity of discussing the then upcoming Gujarat state elections. Soon thereafter, Divya Spandana, former MP and then the Chairperson of the Social Media Team of the Indian National Congress, reached out to Chirag on Twitter in May 2017. His past experience and the fruitful conversation with Rahul Gandhi made Divya offer Chirag to join the Social Media Team of the INC. The two collaborated on a few projects for some time after which Chirag formally joined in September 2017.
Chirag Patnaik looked at social media operations and technology for the Indian National Congress for almost two and a half years. He was managing content and technology. He looked into the daily routine, as handling the social media for a national political party demands you to be constantly on your toes. He formed part of the vital day to day decision making and helped put together various processes to ensure smooth flow and functioning of social media. He believed in a healthy blend of proactive and reactive strategies and stayed abreast with the happenings, the moves of the ruling government and suggested appropriate topical reactions to matters of concern. He made his ideas sync with the core ideology of the Congress and helped resonate and amplify the voice of the party on social media, far and wide.
Suitable campaigns were picked up from time to time, including corruption, rising prices, women’s rights, etc. Chirag also helped establish a nationwide network of volunteers which numbered in several thousands and engaged with a network of influencers. Since political communication is like an iceberg, with more happening underneath than above it, significant time and energy was spent in establishing unofficial networks that will carry the party’s message to voters all across India. This included hundreds of thousands of WhatsApp groups. He coordinated with the various state groups on an ongoing basis and created a robust national network. This network would assimilate the party’s message across the nation.
There was a lot of back-end tech involved and Chirag Patnaik played a crucial role in it too. He managed a large warehouse of data and helped create informal networks which would spread the party’s message and idea to all corners, urban and rural, through its network of volunteers stationed strategically. Chirag assisted in formulating digital strategies and engaged in vigorous digital marketing in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Chirag piloted the outreach in which millions of SMSes were sent and IVR calls were made. Another major, time demanding task was to get liaisons from the Election Commission about every post that went out on social media during that time. Chirag Patnaik was constantly on it and the team could function without any hiccups as he ensured it did.
Read Also: Short Biography of Chirag Patnaik
This was a period of phenomenal growth of the social media handles of the Indian National Congress and reach of Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi. New handles like those for Youtube also experienced hyper growth. Also, launched the website of the Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
He left the Congress in mid-2020 to co-found a startup called Prashnam which seeks to shake up the world of market research.
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