Sinch created a new conversational platform that leveraged bespoke technology to transform plain text into vibrant, artful messages of positivity that could be received by strangers all over the world. After the COVID-19 outbreak, the company modified its service to allow people to send messages to people in isolation, or send messages of gratitude to frontline workers.
Objective and Context:
Sinch is a global leader in cloud communications for mobile customer engagement. Mental Health America (MHA) is the leading community-based non-profit in the United States dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting mental health of all people. In response to the spread of online negativity, Sinch teamed with MHA to build the world's first texting switchboard, #TextForHumanity. The service lets people send a positive message to a stranger and receive one in return.
While mobility and social media have connected the world, they've also created a new door for negative attitudes. Several studies have investigated possible links between social media and smartphone use with poor mental health, including symptoms of depression and anxiety. Meanwhile social isolation is a modern epidemic which affects people of all ages. A recent study among U.S. adults pointed to 30 percent of millennials feeling lonely.
These insights prompted Sinch to think of how it could harness mobile communication as a pushback against online negativity, instead of a trigger. The company used something as simple as a text message — a solution anyone, anywhere in the world can use — and supercharged it with its proprietary technology to connect strangers all over the world.
Sinch's target audience were mobile users worldwide. #TextForHumany would allow strangers to send and receive personal, positive texts. The messages could be sent through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and SMS making it accessible to anyone with even the most basic phone to join. This is particularly important for the elderly who are among the least likely to own a smartphone.
Sinch amplified #TextForHumanity on Facebook and Instagram in order to raise awareness of the campaign and help spread positivity among strangers.
This was done through:
Sinch also enlisted the support of six influencers across three worldwide markets to support the #TextForHumanity initiative and promote participation.
Data from Edelman showed that 64 percent of people are belief-driven buyers who will choose, switch, avoid, and/or boycott a brand based on its stance on societal issues. Whether a consumer or a B2B buyer, people want to be inspired by brands that take a stand on the issues that matter. Hence, Sinch's technology was used to tackle the societal challenge of increasing mental health awareness.
Sinch created a new conversational user flow and a bespoke algorithm that turned plain texts into individual artwork available to share out on social channels. It then set up several country-specific phone numbers so that the service would be cheap to use locally. A filter in place ensured that only positive messages were sent through. This program was not an actual product that customers would buy but it sent a powerful message about the brand, what it stands for, and the cause it championed.
Overall Campaign Execution:
People could participate in the campaign by texting a specific number or accessing a link to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger on TextForHumanity.com. The service asked for a couple of simple details including whether they were frontline worker or living in isolation. All data was stored securely, and no personal or identifying details were known or shared. Participants could then write a short message that gives a frontline worker or someone in isolation a smile. #TextForHumanity would then transform that message into a vibrant, personalized piece of artwork that could be sent to a fellow human somewhere in the world.
#TextForHumanity went live just before the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday, through media exclusives and influencers in several countries. It quickly started to grow with close to no media spend reaching far and wide across the globe. The initiative generated: