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Why Multilingual Texting with Unicode Characters Won a CampaignTech Award in 2021

Why Multilingual Texting with Unicode Characters Won a CampaignTech Award in 2021

Texting with foreign language Unicode characters at scale helped a congressional campaign bridge the language gap in her district, resulting in a victory against the incumbent.

On Tuesday August 24th, Campaigns & Elections announced that RumbleUp won in two categories for the 2021 CampaignTech Awards! Our entry "Targeted & Personalized Multilingual Texting" won best Innovation in Digital Campaigning due to the impact multilingual texting had on our client's campaign. Here's how:

Our client’s team knew taking on an incumbent during a pandemic would be a monumental task. Not only was she faced with this immense task, but the district she was running in also had a unique diversity in languages spoken. In order to win out over her opponent, they needed a solution that allowed them to connect with voters in a personal way that was also contactless and flexible to be accommodating to their multilingual community.

Why Accommodation for Unicode Characters with Peer-to-Peer Texting Was the Solution

The campaign’s language needs were particularly challenging because they needed to send messages in Korean, Mandarin, and English. These languages are more difficult to accommodate because all three use their own unique characters which don’t exist in the traditional English alphabet. Sending text messages in other Latin languages such as Spanish would have been much simpler because most of the characters are the same as English.

Why Accommodation for Unicode Characters with Peer-to-Peer Texting Was the Solution
Real conversation with a voter

Twilio.com explains that the standard SMS Global System for Mobile Communications-7 character set (GSM-7 for short) does not contain the resources for people to text with special symbols or in non-Latin-based languages. The solution to this issue is sending texts using Unicode characters, which allows people to send messages in languages such as Korean and Mandarin that GSM-7 does not accommodate. Our platform was built with the functionality to send messages using Unicode characters in order to meet the demand for sending diverse messages in all the various languages present in the U.S.

Using our peer-to-peer (P2P) texting technology that seamlessly accommodates Unicode characters, the campaign was able to divide their universe based on demographics such as language preference, past actions taken, and age range to incorporate multilingual texting. Using our custom tagging feature, they were able to automatically label contacts simply by setting preferred demographic parameters. This allowed them to send Unicode texts that were both relevant and written in the language the recipient knew best, ensuring that their messages were understood loud and clear for their multilingual district.

How Unicode Characters Were Used In This Campaign’s Texting Program

Since the campaign was able to ensure the legibility of their text messages, they were able to text out instructions for how to request and send in absentee ballots in Korean and Mandarin. The COVID landscape meant absentee ballots were absolutely crucial to the campaign, and without a way to target their audience segments using language preferences, those votes may very well have been lost.

How Unicode Characters Were Used In This Campaign’s Texting Program
Real conversation with a voter

Another way we equipped the team was with the functionality to embed pictures, videos, and graphics along with their language-optimized text messages. Our data has shown that including an image with a text increases response rates by up to 50%. By being able to utilize this function, our client was able to engage in more texting conversations than would have likely happened otherwise.

To boost the campaign’s ability to engage with voters, we provided them with the ability to create custom preloaded replies in Korean, Mandarin, and English. The responses were set up to match the language of the original text sent and allowed volunteers to quickly send a full written out reply with a single tap. This saved time which was absolutely essential in order to successfully engage a voter via text because campaigns need to reply while they still have the recipient’s attention on the message.

Unicode Characters Save the Day

If it were not for our platform’s accommodation for Unicode characters, thousands of people who lacked native English speaking skills would have been either left out of the loop entirely or been contacted with a message they might not understand. Overcoming the language barrier helps more people exercise their right to vote. As it happened, our candidate only won by slightly more than 4,000 votes, proving the need to chase every vote.

Unicode Characters Save the Day
Real replies from voters

To start using RumbleUp to send your important messages, sign up and start texting today at rumbleup.com or contact our sales team to talk about how texting can best work for you: email- sales@rumbleup.com or text us at 833–530–4400!

The outstanding work by the Young Kim Campaign also won the AAPC's Republican "Campaign of the Year"!

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