In 2022, plan to ‘unplan’: How spontaneous digital marketing and newborn influencers will create opportunities for brands to outperform competitors.
Spontaneous digital and influencer marketing is gaining traction in the industry. As consumers search for more authentic content, brands should look to bring some spontaneity to their plans.
We sat down with our Strategic Planning Manager, Thanakrit Tossapol, to delve deeper into his insights on how this type of marketing can help brands grow in 2022.
According to Thanakrit, the value gained from spontaneous digital and influencer marketing will grow at an even faster pace in 2022, rewarding brands that embrace the practice with exponential returns.
There is, however, a bit of an art to this level of spontaneity. Digital marketing professionals may be more used to planning everything ahead, but Thanakrit affirms that a more nuanced approach is needed, himself being an advocate for a philosophy he calls “un-planning.”
What is ‘un-planning’?
Unplanning is the idea that 10% of campaign content and media plans should be left unplanned, leaving room for spontaneity in the lead-up to a campaign launch. Effectively, brands should allocate 10% of their budget, content, and influencer relationships for this kind of spontaneous marketing to take place in the week leading up to the campaign launch, while the remaining 90% should be planned before the campaign launch.
The rationale – humanizing your brand
The rationale is that spontaneous social and digital marketing can humanize a brand’s digital presence, making them seem more like a friend than a giant impersonal cooperation to its followers. A big part of achieving this positive relationship is through being in sync with the cultural conversations that are happening real-time and online, which are in and of themselves spontaneous.
And as Thanakrit has personally witnessed in the campaigns he has led, there is also an important element of spontaneity in the best influencer marketing campaigns. A lot of the time, the best things happen unexpectedly and without any prior planning. So, when planning, brands should also plan to not plan (everything).
In 2022, it’s essential for brands to partner with newborn influencers.
Newborn influencers (not to be confused with baby influencers) are newly successful in their role. They have not been influencing for long and are not as established as influencers who have already made a career out of it.
Thanakrit’s unplanned approach calls for brands to align with newborn influencers who are known for making an impact during the online conversations they’re having at the time of the campaign launch. The rationale for this is that newborn influencers can generate huge returns due to the rapid growth of their follower base.
Some newborn influencers experience follower growth from tens of thousands to millions in a matter of days. Moreover, newborn influencers tend to have fewer conflicts, more flexibility, and can be willing partners for those first brands who are seeking growth-orientated relationships.
“Due to the simple fact that highly established influencers already have many demands on their time and numerous relationships with other brands, and already have fixed notions of what they are and aren’t willing to do, extensive planning is required to produce content that works. But for newborn influencers, there is an opportunity to be spontaneous with the content,” said Thanakrit.
Plan to unplan, and increase digital results by 500%
According to Thanakrit, brands that embrace this “unplanned” mindset can see their digital results increase by up to 500% versus when they take a more conventional, fully planned approach. The art of ‘unplanning’ is something brands must pay attention to if they want to get ahead in 2022 The question is though, – what are the best ways for brands to incorporate unplanning into their campaigns?
3 ways to bring unplanning into your campaign
“The first step,” says Thanakrit, “is to embrace a 90:10 mindset. Thanakrit remains a proponent of data and insights-based campaign planning. But overplanning can also lead to average results – and so he advocates for a 90:10 ratio of planned versus unplanned activity as brands organize campaigns. Just to reiterate, this means 90% of the campaign is pre-planned, while 10% is left up to chance in the final lead-up week towards the campaign launch.”
The second step, he explains, is to develop strong guidelines for how the unplanning will unfold. “For example, there should be clear guidelines for newborn, unplanned influencers – and firm agreements on what they can and cannot do. Temporary restrictions around partnerships with competing brands, and some controls around content that may be deemed controversial, are areas in which brands can manage risk for unplanned activity. The good news is that newborn influencers are more open to advise on ways to manage their rapid rise.”
The third step involves trust and belief in the concept of spontaneous campaign management as this is when and where the magic happens.
Successes we’ve seen
Some of the biggest brands in Thailand have taken advantage of ‘unplanning’ when launching new campaigns. One that comes to mind is the grocery store, Tops Thailand, which used the launch of this year’s Apple iPhone 13 Pro to market its apples in a new and fresh way. The brand even created an ‘Apple Event’ where it sold its apples at half price. For its 25th Anniversary, the grocery store used the release of animation movies such as Frozen 2 to sell its ‘Fo Sen’ noodles, using the tag ‘Fo Sen 2 – Let it Fo, Let it Fo.’
In terms of big brands partnering with new-born influencers, e-commerce brand Shopee was the first to partner with newborn influencer and Thai monk Phra Maha Paivan (@paivan01) for a live-stream event that promoted the color orange (Shopee’s color and the color of monk robes) just before Shopee’s campaign launch. This was completely spontaneous and Shopee’s campaign was launched just one day after Phra Maha Paivan’s peak.
VEEN is another newborn influencer who has partnered with small and big brands alike and has even done live streams with Phra Maha Paivan.
The first brands that partner with newborn influencers record better brand awareness than an ‘early adopter’ or ‘late follower’. Being a ‘first partner’ to a newborn influencer often means that brands can follow them through their peak.
Thanakrit remarks: “Smaller brands and companies that have the start-up mindset tend to act faster – as they tend to be more agile and have a short decision-making process, which is required for being spontaneous. To counter this, brands should try to avoid letting complex company protocols and bureaucracy impact the effectiveness of their influencer relationship in the lead-up to a campaign.”
But… be aware of the risks
It is also important to understand that spontaneous marketing includes some risks. Unproven influencers may not be able to handle their new fame, or social sentiments on an internet trend can change drastically at any moment.
“Whilst there is a risk, there are definitely ways we can minimize this. Real-time decision making, careful sentiment monitoring, and forward planning are key tools in any un-planning,” says Thanakrit. “Yes, there’s a risk, but the rewards are much greater when they are reaped.”
Get in touch with us to see how we can help ‘unplan’ your next campaign.